Transfer rules, the NCAA and PR

More transfer rules changes talk here:

The Division I Council Transfer Working Group suggested in June that the NCAA do away with its “permission to contact” rule, which gives schools unlimited authority to block players from transferring to particular schools.

FanRag Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported Wednesday that the NCAA was considering another idea: letting more transfers play immediately at their new schools. Current NCAA rules require most players to sit out a season after transferring, with that year not counting against their eligibility.

While “nothing is official,” Rothstein wrote that the NCAA could let players with a minimum 2.7 or 2.8 grade-point average transfer without having to sit out. Those changes, he said, would go into effect August 2018.

NCAA spokeswoman Michelle Brutlag Hosick said the report was “premature.”

“Premature” isn’t the same thing as total bullshit, though, is it?

The conclusion heads towards the same cynicism I referenced yesterday.

It’s all terrible PR for the NCAA’s model. The organization’s member schools really don’t want to pay players in revenue-generating sports, and loosening some transfer rules might alleviate some pressure on the entire organization. In addition to looking good, the NCAA could do some good for its players.

Coaches, of course, are freaking out.

“I would not be in favor,” Purdue basketball coach Matt Painter told ESPN of the idea last fall. “It would not allow players to develop and grow as people and players. Any adversity would lead to a transfer and it would just retard their development.”

But there’s another concern, which Painter also acknowledged.

“We would be constantly recruiting and not mentoring the players we have in our program. This would lead to constant poaching and the business of instant gratification instead of growth and development.”

Chaos!  Out of control!  (By that, they mean, of course, coaches’ control.)  But would it?

The lifeblood of any good program will always be the recruitment of high school athletes. The NCAA has strict scholarship limits for every sport. For FBS football, that’s 85 scholarships at a time, with a max of 25 counting toward any given class. Scholarships have trended toward becoming four-year agreements, and lots of offseason transfers come after National Signing Day. There can only be so many slots, even if a coach is ruthless enough to run off tons of his current players.

The residence rule is a barrier to transfers. Removing it would lead to more. But predictions of a free-for-all seem to miss that other NCAA rules still exist. Conferences can make their own policies that go further than whatever the NCAA says.

Coaches and administrators can leave jobs whenever they want, even if they have contracts that run into the future. Ordinary students can transfer whenever they want and immediately join whichever extracurricular activities they want. Athletes are the only ones who face these rules.

It’s easy to focus on the kids who blossom at a lesser setting and desire a higher profile place to show their skills… and let’s remember for those of you who insist that one of the great benefits of college is the chance to prepare for a big payday with the NFL, that it’s far more likely to happen at an Alabama than it is at a Jacksonville State.  But, speaking of Alabama, let’s also remember how many kids are spit out there every year in the name of roster management.  Why should they have to sit out another year?

Bottom line, I don’t think the NCAA has a coherent thought about this right now, except for trying to look better in the face of an increasingly indefensible amateurism protocol.  But greater player freedom?  In the immortal words of Kirby Smart, if it benefits the student-athlete, then obviously I’m for it.

Advertisements

55 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

55 responses to “Transfer rules, the NCAA and PR

  1. gastr1

    I need a little convincing on this one. If a player decides to transfer very late, say right before the season starts, or even mid-season, wouldn’t that be a little hard for coaches to swallow? Would that make it even harder to expect players to play the way the coaches want? I mean, the coaches leave, yes, but it’s unusual for them do so at times like the above that could frankly leave the team at a significant detriment for the season.

    That, and if you have a real mass exodus–say, 10-15 players transferring out, which given the way young people think sometimes, could really happen–I can envision scenarios that are pretty hard to accept without some kind of regulation. Does anyone really want to see total free agency among college players? I’m all for increased freedom of movement, but unlimited movement I’m somewhat wary of.

    Like

    • PatinDC

      If a player transfer right before the season starts, can they legitimately be an impact with the new team? How are they integrated so fast? I have a hard time imagining a QB just moving over a week before the first game and just stepping in. Same with Lineman etc.

      And if a whole team transfers out? Well I wonder what that coach is like….

      Like

      • gastr1

        Yet, surely you can envision a situation where there’s a pre-season battle at a position like QB, and the loser decides to go elsewhere even if it means not starting until the 4th game in or something.

        Like

        • Napoleon BonerFart

          So what? Losing your backup QB shouldn’t be a disaster for a program.

          Like

          • gastr1

            Yes, but there again, what if the starter gets hurt and the third-string guy is now playing? You can imagine the screams from the fan base, yes? And the rest of the team feels the effect of having one less good player to practice with/against?

            I mean, it seems that you can play this out a lot more broadly than I am here, and the potential to undermine the idea of creating teams who play together and fight for another over the course of a season is pretty significant. Surely you all get that too, yes? Especially those who said that Mark Richt’s problem was lack of depth?

            Like

            • gastr1

              (What if the third-string guy also transferred when the second-team guy did, and now you have to try to take some dude from the local FCS school? What a shitshow.)

              Like

              • Napoleon BonerFart

                Injuries should hurt teams. That makes sense. I don’t accept that coaches have the right to stockpile talent to ride the bench just in case. If a kid has NFL potential (or even if he doesn’t), I’m not going to tell him that he can’t maximize his future earnings because two guys in front of him might get hurt and then the coaches and athletic officials, who earn millions, will be dependent on him to justify their paychecks.

                Like

          • Mark

            Sure. Losing Fromm before the 2017 season started wouldn’t have hurt Georgia a bit.

            Like

            • Napoleon BonerFart

              It probably would have hurt. Then again, UGA probably plugs Eason back in when he gets healthy. I’m just not ready to accept that school > player.

              Like

    • CB

      Yeah, it’d be a shame if Georgia were able to get a reserve player from Bama to come in just before the season to start in the defensive backfield and become the team’s defensive MVP. Heck, that kid could even score a game winning touchdown with an interception against Auburn… hypothetically.

      Like

    • Coaches are paid $4,000,000+ to figure it out. I don’t feel sorry for Mr. Glorified PE Teacher.

      Like

      • Connor

        Agree with this. One group is making millions, the other is making zero. The hardships should fall disproportionately on those making millions.

        Like

  2. PatinDC

    I am with you on this.

    Like

  3. DawgPhan

    I think that most players want to stay where they are. It is familiar, they have friends, they know what to expect. Players arent going to make these decisions lightly, just like everyone that went to college didnt transfer every time they failed a test or their girlfriend broke up with them. I would suggest everyone whose hand is creeping towards their peals find something to do with their hands until something actual happens.

    Like

  4. Debby Balcer

    I agree with you no one else in college is held tied to their school this way. Student athletes should not have to sit out or have their transfer options restricted by a coach.

    Like

  5. 69Dawg

    This rule has the “Law of Unintended Consequences” built in. I don’t have the ability to see the future but if they just allow schools to continue to recruit players throughout their college careers, it will be chaos. College football has always had the factor that players are going to leave after 3, 4 or 5 years. You know it so you except it. With this we could be looking at the “one and done” in college football. The guy that is signed and sees that he is not going to be anything but depth for 2 or 3 years will look for a chance to play elsewhere. I don’t blame them It just means that what we have all been hoping for with UGA, getting real depth, probably won’t happen under this rule. We will be back to where injures will very be deciding more National Championships.

    One upside for the coaches is the AD’s are going to think twice before they fire a coach. If the kids can leave when the coach leaves it could kill a program for 3 -5 years. I remain surprised at how many kids stayed at Ole Miss. They did lose some very good players though even though most of the position coaches were retained.

    Like

    • Do you support a 5-year scholarship rather than the 1-year renewable scholarship? Unless that’s fixed, I support easing of the transfer rules. If a coach can cut a kid because he has a better player lined up in the next class and needs to free up space, I think the kid should have the exact same freedom to say, “I don’t want your scholarship” and be free to move to a place that’s a better fit and play immediately. Why can’t a student-athlete do the exact same thing any other student on campus can do?

      Everyone will be playing by the same rules, so the “getting real depth” argument just doesn’t hold water.

      Like

    • Napoleon BonerFart

      Doesn’t the fact that few kids left Ole Miss, when they had the opportunity to do so and lost the head coach that recruited them, go against your premise that mass transfers will occur?

      Like

  6. Go Dawgs!

    Hey Matt Painter, at age 18 men and women can be tried as adults for their crimes, vote in national elections, and be drafted into the military or serve voluntarily. So, it’s not really on you or the NCAA to make sure they “develop and grow as people and players.” Maybe you can just admit that you don’t want your best players transferring to Kentucky or UNC after a great season. It isn’t your job to raise them, they’ve already been raised.

    Like

    • You can tell when someone is losing an argument. They either attack the other side ad hominem or say they are doing it for the kids. These control freak, glorified PE teachers can’t stand the thought of losing control of their players.

      Like

      • dubyadee

        I think that may be part of it, but I also think that free-for-all transfers will have some consequences (especially longer term consequences) that will be very damaging to college sports. That why this is a tough topic. How do we do what is in the best interests of the student athletes without destroying college sports. Tough call in my opinion.

        Like

        • Those who are saying this is going to be a “free-for-all” are throwing out red herring arguments especially the coaches who can move freely with very little or no impact. Until the schools commit to a 5-year financial aid agreement that can’t be broken other than for misbehavior or academics, I have no problem with student-athletes having greater freedom to choose.

          Like

          • dubyadee

            Oh, I absolutely agree that 5-year scholarships are a good idea (though it would be a financial hardship for some small conference schools, especially if they have to be spread to non-revenue sports per Title VIII).

            But I am not sure that really goes far enough to make anyone happy if someone like Jacob Eason would still have to sit out a year when a head coach can jump around at will.

            Like

        • Go Dawgs!

          Did free agency kill professional sports? The stands still look full to me.

          Like

          • dubyadee

            2 thoughts. (1) The stands are definitely full, but I am not in them. (2) We are talking about removing the ability to bind players to a school for multiple years. NFL Players sign multi-year contracts. Hard to say what the effect of a similar rule for NFL players would be.

            I am all for loosening the restrictions on player transfers, but the devil will be in the details.

            Like

            • Go Dawgs!

              NFL teams also aren’t allowed to restrict a player’s ability to play for other teams in their division, conference, or that might appear on a future schedule. Schools are going to lose their power over their players simply because they took too much power over them. Some NFL players sign multi-year contracts. Many others sign one year deals.

              Like

  7. PTC DAWG

    Hell, why even give them a scholarship of they can just up and leave anytime…if you want the right to leave at will, walk on…otherwise, give the kids 4-5 year binding scholarships…

    I’m fine with Coaches being treated the same way…

    Like

    • dubyadee

      Similar contractual restrictions on college coaches would not be legal in many states. And an NCAA rule restricting hiring of coaches is probably a felony under federal antitrust laws.

      Like

    • And similarly, let them walk on at their new school. No scholy for a year but you are welcome to come play.

      Like

  8. Personally, I don’t really give a **** if it’s unfair. Just being honest. I’d rather have them on salary than allow this. With the Hugh Freezes, Lane Kiffins and Jeremy Pruitts roaming the earth, I think this creates huge systemic risk to the entire institution. I don’t know why so many people are just desperate to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Must be a bunch of liberals–always in search for their next victim.

    Now, having said all that, I would make an exception: a player can play immediately if he foregoes a scholarship in the first year at the new school AND the new school actually counts said (un-scholarshipped) player against the 85 limit. Certainly, this is a disadvantage for lower income students but (x) its only one year and (y) I’m yet to see a student loan package not be created for which there is a need. I think this is the perfect balance for kids who genuinely want / need to get on the field while still shielding the market from bad actors. If somebody wants to leave bad enough to take on 25k in loans or have the parents come out of pocket, let them play……besides 25k in student loans ain’t the end of the world.

    Like

  9. DawgPhan

    Always surprising to find so many college football fans hate free markets.

    Like

    • Spend a year doing M&A regulatory filings at the state, local and Federal Trade Commission level…..or pay said legal fees for the same and then let’s talk about “free markets.” No (legal) part of the business world in our republic is the wild wild west, contrary to popular belief.

      Like

      • dubyadee

        My personal favorite is when telecom companies appeal to libertarian ideals to protect monopoly power over data lines.

        Like

      • Napoleon BonerFart

        The fact that businesses are over regulated at the state and federal levels doesn’t prove that more regulation is preferable to less.

        Like

        • dubyadee

          It does not. But that wasn’t the argument her was responding to. The initial argument was, if I can paraphrase: Durr, Free Market!

          Like

          • Napoleon BonerFart

            I didn’t get that. I agree with the premise that the labor market for college athletics should be more free. But if I can paraphrase that argument against that notion: Durr, liberty = chaos!!

            Like

            • dubyadee

              My argument is pretty simple. Competitive leagues self-destruct without regulation (salary caps, rookie caps, transfer restrictions, etc.). There are a host of Chicago School economics papers on this. But too much regulation is bad (morally and economically). It is a constant struggle to keep regulation to the lowest points necessary to preserve the league. This is true because the rule-makers (owners and unions) attempt to structure and game regulation to their benefit.

              It seems like we agree that there is room for less and better targeted regulation of SA transfers, but that I am a little more risk averse than you. I respect your opinion and am happy to discuss whether particular risks I see are real or ghosts, but I think we are down to that point.

              Like

    • dubyadee

      Do you know any economists? Any that you trust? I would recommend that you call them and ask about the necessity of restrictions on free markets in competitive leagues.

      Like

  10. Kevin

    BAD idea for college football. Just BAD. No need to NFLize the college game.

    Like

  11. CB

    Or… just pay the players and sign them to 3-5 year contracts.

    Like

  12. 81Dog

    so basically, it would be just like HS basketball is, due to the AAU influence, minus the AAU. Don’t like it at your regular HS? Find a booster who will rent you living space in that booster’s HS district (Dunwoody), or pay the tuition (Buford, I’m looking at you), or just make up an address and commute from your house (cough, Norcross, cough).

    I’m all for mobility for the players, but the problem will arise when the players get “incentivized” with something other than just playing time, which I’m pretty sure will happen (cough, Hugh Freeze, cough). The devil is always in the details.

    Like

  13. Bigshot

    I’d be surprised if Kirby is for this.

    Like

    • Macallanlover

      I would be surprised if any adult who cares about the future of CFB would support this. Warm and fuzzy is being confused with reality by those who would prefer chaos to a structure where coaches/programs have a base order they can plan for.

      Like

  14. Will Trane

    Jake Fromm and Blankenship announced they are transferring to Auburn immediately.
    So how does that impact your team Smart?
    Well, what do you think.
    Have a much younger team anyway, and two of my more experienced players are leaving before spring ball. It will be almost impossible to be back in the East hunt or to make it back the SECCG.
    Go ask the Senator they see nothing wrong with it.
    I do.
    Think about it.
    In the meantime only 3 weeks to 2018 Daytonna 500, in essence the beginning of spring at the Ga-Fla line.

    Like

  15. Seems like it would be really easy to design some controls to make this orderly and fair. Concerned your star player will leave in a year where you need him most? Allow only players below a certain playing time threshold in the prior year to transfer. Worried about bad timing and impact on recruiting strategy? Create a transfer “season” where the players and coaches can expect things to happen. Want to avoid rampant free agency? Let the first transfer come without the penalty of sitting out, but make the second one have some kind of penalty on participation. Appalled that whole rosters might depart to follow a coach? Prevent a program from receiving more than a few players from another program over a period of time. All this becomes is a small but necessary easing of an otherwise overregulated system.

    Like

    • Napoleon BonerFart

      Rather than replacing the current blanket rules with new blanket rules, why not allow both parties to negotiate? Allow high school athletes legal representation and draw up a contract. There could even be NCAA templates for 1-4 year scholarships. Alabama is willing to put kid on scholarship for one year. Auburn is willing to put kid on scholarship for two years. Georgia Tech is willing to give a four-year scholarship. At the expiration of the contract, the school can withdraw their scholarship and the kid can transfer without restriction. Or, they can renew their scholarship for another year, or two, or three.

      The kid weighs his options and makes an informed decision. What’s so hard about that?

      Like

  16. Kuma

    Senator, I couldn’t help but think of a line from R.E.M.’s “Disturbance at the Heron House” when reading your post. “…The followers of chaos out of control…”

    Like