Last Tuesday, the NCAA stunned many in the college sports world by announcing a proposal to change a policy that dates back to the 1960s. Under the idea, first-time transfers in all sports would immediately be able to compete at their new school, rather than sit a year as they did under old legislation. Not only was the statement’s timing a surprise but so was its path: The proposal is being fast-tracked to go into effect this fall.
At least one conference administrator expressed surprise at the announcement and said his league received no warning. Meanwhile, Todd Berry, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, a group opposed to the proposal, was completely “shocked” at the NCAA’s statement and said FBS conferences were against the idea as recently as last summer. “Something has happened recently,” Berry said. “I don’t know if it has to do with NIL or what.”
“It feels a little bit disingenuous,” one athletic director told Sports Illustrated under condition of anonymity. “It seems like we’re trying to pacify or appease so people aren’t so hard on us with the NIL.”
Christ, these folks have made a cottage industry out of cynically manipulating people’s emotions about college sports. Why would anyone believe there’s something different going on as the NCAA faces its latest existential crisis?
Or that there are plenty of other folks willing to resort to their own kind of manipulations?
Nick Saban, Alabama head coach
“I don’t know how you manage a roster when this goes into effect. I can’t manage our roster now. Last year, we had eight seniors on our team. We had seven guys go out for the draft and three graduate transfers or guys that ended up transferring. So instead of having 18 seniors, you’ve got eight. You really have a three-year program at a place like this. I’m not necessarily saying it’s going to hurt our program because we’ll do a hell of a job recruiting players leaving other places to come here. But is that good for college football?”
You got any doubt that if you forced Saban into a choice of player compensation or one-time transfers, he’d choose the former in a heartbeat? I sure don’t.