Wow. I’m touched by my own naiveté this morning. I have to admit this never dawned on me before:
A common misconception is that walk-ons are treated in a significantly different way than scholarship student-athletes. By and large rules apply the same to a student-athlete on a full grant-in-aid and a student-athlete paying his or her own freight to go to school. In general, this works out well for walk-ons.
But when a walk-on decides to possibly transfer and wants to talk to other schools, it should not necessarily be so. To have any degree of control over a student-athlete’s movements (even the tiny amount below), an institution should have to invest directly in his or her education. A walk-on should not require any permission to talk to schools or transfer anywhere. An institution maintains the ability to offer a walk-on a scholarship for the next term or year, provided the institution has scholarship money available.
In other words, a walk-on student-athlete who wants to transfer to another D-1 school and play there is bound by the same transfer rules as a kid on full scholarship. So if a coach wants to screw with the star of his scout team, he can do so with impunity. Just another example of the NCAA looking out for… oh, screw it.
Now that I think about it, I’m surprised that I was surprised by that.