“When you get older, you learn you have to make a business decision.”

Now there’s a quote that’ll send shivers down some coaches’ backs.

This offseason alone, Pagano and Cochran are just two of dozens of grad transfers, who in search of better paths to the next level, have shaken up conference championship outlooks and buttressed the playoff hopes of their new teams.

If signing day is college football’s version of the draft, the grad transfer practice has become its free agency.

“These young men who come in, they know everything,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “They’re smart. They’re college graduates. They know this is their last year and are looking for somewhere where they can fit in.”

The grad transfer rule, adopted in 2006, allows players — already physically developed and usually rather seasoned — who earn their undergraduate degree before completing their eligibility to transfer without having to sit out. Quarterback Russell Wilson became the cover boy for grad transfers when he left North Carolina State in 2011 to play his final season at Wisconsin, and led the Badgers to a Big Ten championship.

The movement has since ballooned.

Give Dabo Sweeney some credit for being supportive, though.

Pagano and Baker both received their releases from Clemson’s compliance office to be recruited by other schools the day they asked Tigers coach Dabo Swinney for it. And Baker and Pagano each noted that both Swinney and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables helped them find new homes, too.

Although you wonder how gracious he might have been if depth had been a concern.

Still, it’s a question of control, so transferring sits well with some coaches more than others.  It’s not at the level it’s at with basketball, but with an upward trend, it wouldn’t surprise me to see more coaches react the way Nick Saban did with Maurice Smith.


Filed under College Football

6 responses to ““When you get older, you learn you have to make a business decision.”

  1. Macallanlover

    I don’t get the cynicism for Dabo, he has never proven himself to be unfair in his approach to treating players, that I have seen. The transfer rules should be unrestricted, with the exception of teams on the schedule of the team who is losing the player. Saban was a jerk about Smith, but we already knew that before last summer, it would be “breaking news” if Dabo was unrealistic and stood in the way of a graduated player. NCAA should step up to this issue and clear the way by taking this authority from the Conferences and teams.


    • Go Dawgs!

      Dabo Swinney has been one of the more outspoken advocates of making sure his amateur athletes don’t get a single thin dime more than they’re already receiving in exchange for putting their bodies and brains on the line in the service of dear ol’ State U. This is in spite of understanding better than most people the struggles that some of his players are going through thanks to the fact that he went through the struggle himself. Now he makes $4.5 million a year on the backs of his players, and has said that he’d probably go do something else if players were to be paid even a modest sum. His quote: “But as far as paying players, professionalizing college athletics, that’s where you lose me. I’ll go do something else, because there’s enough entitlement in this world as it is.”

      Entitlement! The idea that an athlete risking his health for a scholarship would see his head coach making $4 a year on his athletic performance (and all of his assistants making six figures), see his school part of a multi-million dollar league cable network set to debut in a few years, and then ask for a minor-league salary is feeling ENTITLED? To something he’s working for?

      That’s why people don’t like Dabo. Other than that garbage, I find him to be a likable enough guy.


      • Olddawg 55

        Had occasion to bring Dabo in as a speaker for a FCA banquet when he was just a grad assistant…he was the epitome of a Christian gentleman and was an eloquent speaker conveying a Christian message. I don’t think he’s changed and his stance on amateurism doesn’t mean he’s for shortchanging his athletes. He has earned his pay and I sincerely believe he cares for his players…and the game!!


  2. Sherlock

    Although you wonder how gracious he might have been if depth had been a concern.

    Luckily, depth is usually the reason for the transfers. The only thee instances I can think of where the player in question would have started are: Mo Smith, Shaq Wiggins, and the Oregon QB Adams. There was consternation all around on those.


    • Macallanlover

      Depth is the overwhelming reason for transfers, but a few are because the system didn’t fit their skill set (could have changed after their decision to attend the original school). Whatever the reason, they deserve a chance to show their skills before their time is past if they feel they haven’t had a fair chance. Just zero reason to be against this type of transfer from what I see. Also a great shot for other schools to find an “emergency fit” for a spot where their recruits fell short of needs.


  3. I find it sad that when a coach helps a young player transfer to another school in the hopes of more playing time…..it is looked upon as an exception rather than the general rule.

    The rules in place for these college kids is insane compared to what coaches make and have in place for themselves.