That’s a quote for a situation where it’s usually a sign that nothing’s been agreed on, and in the case of the NCAA, that’s a wise place to start.
It’s one thing to sense a need to be fair about the NCAA transfer rules. It’s another to actually come up with a change to those that’s palatable enough for the various interest groups to swallow.
To give you an idea of how far off the rails things are going with regard to the latter point, consider the AFCA’s latest brainstorm.
As the NCAA continues to consider changes to its transfer rules, the American Football Coaches Association’s board of trustees has come up with another idea:
Require athletes to sit out a year of competition after transferring – as is currently the rule for college football. But if the athlete graduates, give him an extra season of competition.
Todd Berry, the AFCA’s executive director, said the AFCA’s trustees, made up of active coaches from all levels of college football, were unanimous in their support of the idea during their annual meeting this week at the Hyatt Regency Gainey Ranch.
The AFCA’s proposal is not official. But Berry said he and the trustees would present the idea at their respective conference meetings, which take place this month (six conferences – the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, American, Mid-American and Mountain West – are meeting this week at the Hyatt Regency).
“If a player graduates, they get the year back,” Berry said. “We think it’s going to be pretty palatable to the majority of the groups out there.”
Actually, no. There’s a rather large sticking point.
The AFCA’s proposal seems like a long shot because it could give some athletes the opportunity to have five years of competition over six years of college. Current NCAA rules allow athletes to compete for four years while being in college for five.
Justin Sell, the South Dakota State athletic director who is leading the NCAA’s transfer working group, said opening the door to five years of competition would have ramifications beyond transfers and might not be something the working group can handle.
“That’s an overarching discussion that might be outside our purview,” Sell said. “If you’re going to change the model in total that changes everything.”
Now I don’t think Berry and his constituents are idiots. They know what the ramifications are as to what they’re proposing here. They also know the NCAA isn’t likely to accept something that far-reaching. It does make for a nice attempt to use the ol’ doing it for the kids excuse as a way to throw a little sand in the gears of the NCAA’s working group, though.
Not sure if it’s needed, in that the working group seems to have plenty of obstacles of its own choosing to overcome.
The transfer working group is trying to come up with a package of reforms it can present to the Division I Board of Directors this summer, and hopefully have in place for the next school year.
The areas in which there appear to be agreement involve eliminating the ability of schools to block a player from transferring or dictate where a player goes. Proposals that would stiffen penalties for tampering or improper recruiting have also made progress and have support.
The rest is still being worked out. The working group last month said in a statement it was still considering whether athletes in all sports should be required to sit out a season after changing schools, the way football and basketball players now do. Some sports, such as volleyball and golf, allow a one-time exception for athletes to transfer and play immediately.
Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said he has doubts about one-size-fits-all-sports transfer rules, including the AFCA’s idea.
“I would support the conversation, but I think it’s got to be sport-by-sport,” Hocutt said. “I don’t think it can be a discussion that encompasses all 17 sports that we have at Texas Tech.”
Translation: if the sport isn’t a revenue generator, there isn’t much of a problem with transfers. Gee, who woulda thunk? Reform is just around the corner, peeps!