This is the NCAA’s lucky day (originally published on May 22, 2012) because I have the solutions for their transfer policies, which have come under considerable fire in recent weeks and months (e.g. Maryland Football, Wisconsin Basketball, St. Joseph’s Basketball). To set the stage before I give you the solution, below are a few articles that should provide further insight on the topic.
- Bo Ryan Uproar Sheds Light on NCAA’s Faulty Transfer Policy (Seth Davis)
- Coaching Changes and NCAA Transfer Rules: Is the Current System Leaving Athletes Abandoned? (Research study at Williamette University)
- Time to Change Transfer Rules (Dick Vitale)
- College, player divorce in basketball can be messier than the marriage (Terry Hutchens)
- Transfer Rules Won’t Be Easily Lifted (espn.com)
- A Saner Solution to Basketball’s Transfer Problem (Brad Wolverton)
Mark Emmert, the NCAA’s President, appears to be a very sensible and practical person that talks about his desire for reform in college athletics. This includes the issue of student-athletes transferring from one school to another. Depending on who you talk with (coaches, administrators, student-athletes, fans), you will probably get varying opinions on the topic. In fact, you may even get a different opinion from each person based on their situation. There is no fool proof or perfect solution. Compromise is needed because neither side is right in all situations and neither side is always innocent. However, I have provided a simple solution to the problem, as well as some remarks in response to the most heard comments. No doubt, there will be some differing opinions about what I write. That is fine. The bottom line is that the NCAA’s transfer policies are not working as optimal as they probably could be. There needs to be some rational and objective discussion about how the student-athletes, the coaches and the institutions can all co-exist as best as possible without taking advantage of each other in this area.
(1) Allow the athletic program to scholarship the transfer. This will probably eliminate a majority of the complaints, since oftentimes a player wants to transfer but find it difficult because of the financial hardship it will place on them.
(2) Allow athletic programs to pay for parents to come on the visit. This is absolutely crazy. One of the most important decisions a person will ever make is about college and the school can’t pay extra for a parent to come on the campus visit. This would not only help in the decision making process, but it would also cut down on some of the inappropriate behaviors occurring on those visits, which sometimes get schools in trouble.
(3) Student-athletes automatically sit out a year if they transfer, except if…
- The student-athlete graduates with an undergraduate degree before their eligibility is finished. In this case, they’d be eligible right away if they wanted to transfer to a school to do their master’s work.
- If the head coach leaves (the school should not punish the student-athlete if a coach leaves but should make it harder for a coach to leave).
- If a student-athlete has their scholarship cut and/or is cut from the team.
- If a student-athlete redshirts and didn’t play the year immediately before transferring.
(4) No more releases are needed. This eliminates individual biases, emotions and subjective philosophies. Additionally, Conferences and schools no longer can make their own rules about who, when, where, why, etc… that someone can transfer.
(5) Amend the Academic Performance Rate. Figure out a way to adjust the APR so that schools are not punished as much as they are now for a student-athlete transferring. There should still be some repercussions, but not as much. Someone smarter than me can tackle this issue.
OFTEN HEARD STATEMENTS:
The time and financial resources coaches put into recruiting and developing players should give them the right to block certain transfers.
- That same “money and time” argument doesn’t seem to matter when the student-athlete under-performs for the coach. Additionally, I have yet to see a coach refuse to recruit a transfer based on the same principle that they cost their previous coach/school “time and money”.
Some schools tamper with players and that coaches can counter the hijinks by blocking a transfer.
- Coaching vigilantes are not needed. If you know a school/coach has tampered and/or broken rules then simply report it to your administration.
Athletes on one-year renewable scholarships say they are liable to get run off if they under-perform athletically.
- Pardon the sarcasm, but you are over 18. College is supposed to prepare you for life. Welcome to the real world. If you are on academic scholarship and you don’t achieve the standards expected of you, then you can have your money cut. Athletic scholarships should not be much different.
We should be looking out for the best interest of the student-athlete
- We should be looking out for the best interest of everyone involved in the college athletic program and the institution. Student-athletes do not have the right to get their way whenever they want. Their interests are important but should not be the sole focus.
Coaches can go anytime they want but student-athletes are stuck.
- Right or wrong, bosses sometimes have a better deal than employees. Coaches have families to feed and careers to think about. Yes, it may not be fair, but student-athletes know that this is a reality long before they even get to college. This is a circular problem because institutions are not always loyal to coaches. Coaches get fired for so many reasons that may not be entirely within their control. This mentality often leads coaches to constantly stay one step ahead of the posse.