A reminder that the NCAA is all about heppin’ the kids:
In two weeks, the N.C.A.A.’s primary legislative body, the Division I Council, will vote on a measure that could severely restrict graduate transfers. The proposed rule change would require that colleges accepting graduate transfers be docked a scholarship the next year if the transfer does not earn his secondary degree within a year.
So as graduate transfers have continued to increase — there were 124 this season in men’s basketball, according to the website GradTransferTracker, including a handful who were key contributors on N.C.A.A. tournament teams — and as programs have found value in them as a quick fix that suits both team and player, the new rule is seeking to discourage them by effectively adding a tax on programs that accept such players.
“That’s really draconian,” Rodney Fort, a sports economist and professor of sports management at the University of Michigan, said of the rule change. “This is like losing a scholarship from an N.C.A.A. penalty.”
… Justin Sell, the athletic director at South Dakota State who led the Division I transfer working group that developed the proposal, said that too often graduate transfers in men’s basketball and football had little interest in obtaining graduate degrees.
“We really want to protect against the football player who is done and leaves in December and the basketball player who is done and leaves in March,” Sell said. “A lot of students are looking to use it to play another year. Who’s seriously there for the master’s?”
Yeah, if there’s one thing schools are concerned about, it’s sham decisions. What I love about Sell’s reasoning is the way he conveniently pretends the players are operating in a vacuum here, as if the coaches who take in these kids are mere accidental bystanders as they’re looking to play another year. It takes two to tango, last time I checked.
But if you really want to gauge the hypocrisy of this, you don’t have to look very far. For one thing, the new rule only applies to three sports, football, women’s basketball and men’s basketball. Gee, what a funny coincidence. Second, they know it’s bullshit.
Sell conceded objections about practicality (many graduate programs take two years to complete) and fairness (the rule does not apply to athletes who compete as graduate students without transferring) were fair, but said his group’s intent was to “manage behavior.” [Emphasis added.]
“When you’re trying to manage behavior and put together policies and rules in trying to create ethical behavior and integrity, there are challenges to that,” Sell said. “It’s really hard to police integrity.”
To put that highlighted point another way,
If managing behavior is the major concern here, then why isn’t the rule going to be applied to all graduate student-athletes, not just those who seek to transfer?
I think we all know the answer to that.
It’s all about the control, baby. That’s how you get to the faux concern of Jim Harbaugh.
However, Harbaugh does have one tweak he’d like to see — not even to the rulebook. Instead, he’d like to see one particular rule applied uniformly.
Last season, the NCAA changed the redshirt rule, making it so players could play in any four games and still retain that season as a redshirt year — meaning, they would retain a year of eligibility, regardless of having seen playing time. That new rule went into effect this past season, but only for players who utilized said rule.
Harbaugh would like to see that apply in arrears, so that any player who’s currently enrolled would have that same rule applied if they played in four or less games, but before the new rule went into effect.
“The other thing, though, I would say, because it can affect a lot of players – the new rule of being able to play in four games and still being able to have a redshirt, there should be a retroactive for those players that are juniors, seniors and possible fifth-years,” Harbaugh said. “Because right now, I believe there’s a hard-line on them, even though you have a new rule. If a player only played in one game or two games or played near the end of the season, but now they’re a junior or a senior, that year shouldn’t be, they should be under the same eligibility. It should be grandfathered in like those that played this past season. Hopefully, people come to the logic of that.”
That’s really considerate, Jim. It’s nice to see that some coaches can selflessly support players… eh, what’s that?
That would give players such as Shea Patterson, who lost a year of eligibility having played in Ole Miss’ final three regular season games in 2016, a redshirt year, and an ability to come back for another season, if he so chose.
In the context of college athletics, integrity doesn’t mean what I think it means.