This one sentence ought to tell you everything you need to know about how radical the coming changes in the college football transfer rules are likely to be.
The changes will not be quite as extensive as some had hoped and the work is not complete, but considering previous failed attempts, getting anything accomplished on transfers can be counted as a success.
Not exactly worth popping any champagne corks for, eh?
As far as I can tell, this is the extent of the reform.
Currently, an athlete must ask a coach for permission to contact other schools when choosing to transfer. A school interested in recruiting a transferring player also must ask the athlete’s current school for permission to recruit the athlete. Without permission from the athlete’s original school, the athlete cannot get financial aid from another school.
The new model would free athletes to be contacted when they notify their current coaches. The athletes’ names would go into a database created and managed by the NCAA, alerting schools of who can be recruited. The changes will come with stricter tampering rules to help appease coaches who worry illegal recruiting could rise.
So, you won’t have to go ask Nick for his permission to look around anymore. That’s a decent start, but it’s also as far as it goes.
“We aren’t going to get as far down the path on transfers as I think most people hoped we would,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said this week during the conference’s meetings in Dallas. “But the permission to transfer is gone, we think it will be gone, and the notification of transfers coming in. What that does at a practical level is it switches the control from the coach or the institution to the student-athlete. We think that’s the right way to go.”
Well, whether control is really being switched is something we’ll have to wait to see how it plays out, but note that the current requirement that players have to sit out a year at their new school remains in place. There’s also this:
Transfer rules also vary from conference to conference and those rules are being reconsidered at league-level meetings as well. Most notably, what to do about transfers within conference. Some leagues are stricter than others.
At the Southeastern Conference meetings in Destin, Florida, this week, the league is considering whether players who transfer from a school under NCAA sanctions should be allowed to go to another SEC school. There is also a debate about whether graduate transfers, who are not required to sit out a season by NCAA rules, should be allowed to transfer within the SEC and play immediately. The SEC requires grad transfers to sit out a season if they want to stay in conference.
The one thing I’m curious about is how strong those new tampering rules are. It seems to me that if you make those sufficiently effective, then maybe it frees up the decision makers to focus on what’s really best for the student-athlete, rather than coaches’ fears about free agency.
Along those lines, check out what’s been left in the feedback stage:
The transfer working group is hoping to have feedback from conferences on two other ideas:
—Allowing incoming recruits to transfer without sitting out if there is a coaching change after they sign a national letter of intent.
—Making schools commit a scholarship to a graduate transfer for the length of the graduate program, no matter how long the athlete stays in school.
Looks like there’s a ways to go.