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.