“Some things are worth waiting for.”

It’s always sad when a control freak loses a little control.

A few moments later, host Eli Gold said he didn’t want to mention names, but asked about the current transfer landscape in college football. He asked Saban if it had become like free agency.

“It’s one of those things where I think the culture has changed a little bit,” Saban said. “I think there’s a certain pride people have in competition. There’s certain things that I was taught growing up about not quitting and seeing things through. I think it I would have come home and told my dad that I was going to quit the team, I think he would have kicked me out of the house. I don’t think I’d have a place to stay.”

Coming from the guy who bailed on the Miami Dolphins when the going wasn’t to his liking, that’s a bit rich.

But the best part of this is that Blake Barnett, the subject of Saban’s wistful pondering, may have found a loophole in the transfer rules. (h/t)

The assumption from fans, message boards and even national media was that the redshirt freshman would be losing the 2017 season of eligibility regardless of his transfer plans. So, why would he leave now, four games into an undefeated season? With a true freshman starter one hit away from injury, Barnett is still a critical piece of Alabama’s championship equation and he’s being painted as a quitter by critics.

But Barnett has a plan — and it looks a lot like something we’ve seen before in college basketball.

According to bylaw 14.5.6 in the NCAA transfer guide, Barnett as a 4-2-4 transfer (four-year institution, to a junior college, and back to a four-year institution), can be eligible one calendar year from the date of his transfer from Alabama so long as he graduates with a GPA above 2.5 over an average of 12 hours per term at the certifying institution of Barnett’s choosing.

That’s a situation that happens frequently pre- and post-semester. The timing of Barnett’s transfer is what makes him a possible trailblazer: He’d be eligible to play the conference schedule at his next destination.

247Sports reviewed the NCAA transfer guide on Thursday with an FBS compliance source who has first-hand experience and knowledge in placing players from JUCOs, military institutions and other four-year colleges.

“I’ve never seen this situation before first-hand,” the compliance source said. “Because it’s so rare for somebody to leave in the middle of the season.”

It’s worth noting that every person we talk to has slightly different perspectives on the interpretation of this rule. One source with significant experience dealing in junior college transfers believed that Barnett would be eligible immediately in 2017 at a four-year program. Still another source that coaches in the junior college ranks felt that Barnett wouldn’t be able to play at a four-year institution until the 2018 season.

The source who thinks Barnett might have all of 2017 available muses that by leaving Alabama now and arriving at a two-year institution with a mid-term date in mid-October, Barnett would be essentially wiping clean the fall of 2016 at Alabama from his academic record. Consequently, his midterm transfer to a two-year institution would allow him to retroactively start the clock to the beginning of the first semester, thus allowing him to be eligible for the 2017 season with three years remaining to fulfill three years of eligibility.

Honestly, I don’t know if this will work, but you’ve got to admit it’s creative, especially when you consider that he’s leaving a program known under Saban for aggressively pushing the envelope when it comes to NCAA and SEC rules.  If it works, you’d better believe Saban won’t be applauding Barnett’s ingenuity, though.  He’ll be solemnly urging a rule change to shut down future mid-season departures.  It’s in the young men’s best interest, you know.



Filed under Nick Saban Rules, The NCAA

15 responses to ““Some things are worth waiting for.”

  1. merk

    Yes, because these kids transferring are quitting the “team.” The kids who are transferring are doing so to provide themselves with better opportunities to show their skill sets, some to get out of bad situations, and others simply due to life choices.
    The issue here is really just about the grad transfer, which is not quitting as he says. The kid promised the coach to come play for the school while they got an education, or that’s at least the NCAA spin on why the athletes can’t be paid. However, these transfers have done just that, they came to the school and put in the effort to obtain a degree and play for the team while doing so.
    The only reason Saban even gives a crap about this is that it opens the door for those 4 and 5 star guys on his roster who are 2nd and 3rd string to leave after doing their time. If it was some guy Saban felt was just holding up a scholarship, I am sure Saban would be driving the kid himself to any school they wanted to go to.

  2. Little Nicky is possibly one of the least self-aware, most narcissistic people in sports.

  3. Bulldog Jay

    Yep, Nick hates quitters but has no problem “processing” players or shedding “injured” players that move on to other schools and are still able to play

  4. Macallanlover

    Heard Neuheisel say yesterday that many Wesr Coast schools are on the quarter system and if he registers ASAP, he can actually be enrolled for the current Fall Quarter. Since he is from California, the thinking is he is headed back home and has a few good options.

    I like the one year sitting period for undergrads, and oppose free agency, but admit seeing Little Nicky squirm is enjoyable.

  5. PatinDC

    I hope it works out for the kid.

  6. ASEF

    I don’t think any coach would be thrilled to see their back-up QB transfer 4 games into a season. Saban also said this:

    “”He did come to see me today before practice with some concerns about his future. Blake is a fine young man, he’s done a great job with this program and we’d love to see him be a part of the program in a future. But we also want him to do what’s best for him.”

  7. The loophole that Barnett has found is the reason for this comment, “There’s certain things that I was taught growing up about not quitting and seeing things through. I think it I would have come home and told my dad that I was going to quit the team, I think he would have kicked me out of the house. I don’t think I’d have a place to stay.”

    Maybe Barnett is smart enough to have gone through the NCAA rule book and found this out on his own, but more likely Barnett’s family and possibly some legal advisors poured through the book and advised him to leave now.

    Saban’s only option is to question the “manhood” of Barnett’s father’s parenting.

  8. Lrgk9

    Saban’s minions should never have put a player’s momm’s picture in a trash can.

    Costly Arrogance

  9. Debby Balcer

    The timing sucks for Bama but it makes sense for him. If you want a chance to make the NFL you do not do it by playing back up QB.

  10. I think we all saw this coming since late second quarter of the USC game.

  11. CB

    Great read Senator