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Transfer rule changes coming, but who makes call?

By The Associated Press

The leaders of big-time college sports agree that transfer rules need to better accommodate players. The days of coaches having a say in where an athlete can transfer could very well be going away, though it’s not likely deregulation will lead to a system where athletes come and go as they please.

“The trick … to this is affording students the prerogative and privileges that they deserve and to also be fair to the universities that invest heavily in time and resources to recruit them to that school,’ Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said .

How that change happens is up for debate. The wealthiest college football conferences (Big 12, Big Ten, Atlantic Conference, Pac-12, Southeastern Conference) are willing to work with all of Division I to come up with a solution, but they also want the power to make their own transfer rules if need be as part of an autonomy structure the NCAA is moving toward.

That worries the schools outside those powerful leagues, concerned they’ll be in danger of losing their best players to the Big Five. Most of the areas in which the Big Five conferences are seeking autonomy are related to how schools spend money on athletes. Transfer regulations are seen more as purely competitive-balance issues.

“I still haven’t gotten a good answer as to why transfer rules have been included in the autonomy bucket,” said SMU athletic director Rick Hart, whose school plays in the American Athletic Conference, one of the other five leagues in the top tier of college football knows as FBS. “I’m hopeful that will remain something that is voted upon by the entire membership.”

NCAA transfer rules vary some from sport to sport. For football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball, transferring players must sit out a year and lose a year of eligibility if they want to take a scholarship with another school playing at the same level. Athletes can apply for a family hardship waiver to be allowed to play immediately. A recently passed proposal would eliminate the hardship waiver, but give transfers back the year of eligibility, though they would still have to sit out a year at the new school.

Current transfer rules also allow schools to deny an athlete’s release from a scholarship, making it impossible to receive a scholarship from another school. Many conferences have rules against athletes transferring from one member to another. At times coaches will place schools outside the conference on a restricted list for a transferring athlete.

The greatest fear for all those involved, no matter the conference, is transfer rules becoming so liberal that coaches have to recruit their own players. This, again, is especially worrisome for the schools outside the power conferences that rely on developing athletes who are not as highly recruited.

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  1. Ira

    I never understood losing a year of eligibility. Does a HC lose a year of salary if he leaves to go coach another school. Didn’t think so. Does the HC have to sit out a year if his contract isn’t up with the old school and he takes a new job as a HC at another school. I didn’t think so either. But it’s funny the student who provides all these jobs, money to the University gets penalized in this manner.

    Now I can understand the coaching staff that has recruited him, who in many cases has had to out recruit schools in their own conference to get a player not wanting them to transfer within said conference. If the said player has a hardship, then sure family illness then no they shouldn’t be blocked, but otherwise, I don’t think a player playing in the SEC should be allowed to transfer within the same conference, but no block what so ever to any other conference. The same goes for the ACC, B12, PAC 12 etc.

    But stop the hypocracy about it. If it’s all about the student athlete then don’t talk out the side of your mouths, nor make the rules that fit the coaches but screw the students that give them their jobs in the 1st place.

    1. RJ

      Well said!

  2. King Ghidora

    I side with the schools on this one. The players made a choice and they should be held to it. The schools have too much to lose if they find a great player and he leaves because he realizes others now want him. The job of recruiting at second and third tier schools could become a joke. Why bother making the effort to scout and recruit better players when you know the good ones will just leave. I think this ties into kids taking scholarships in the first place. It shouldn’t be a one year at a time commitment. Schools shouldn’t be allowed to yank that scholarship and players shouldn’t be allowed to walk away from that commitment so easy either. Scholarships should be looked at as contracts with both sides being required to do certain things. No more one and done. If the NBA wants players to wait a year out of high school let them find them somewhere else. If you take a scholarship you stay 2 years. At the same time schools should be required to give you 4 years of schooling if you chose their school because of being asked to do so. No more yanking scholarships or telling players they should transfer. They might not have to keep them on the team if they don’t live up to expectations but they should keep the scholarship anyway. No one knew they wouldn’t be able to cut it. UK has done this too many times IMO. If they want to transfer after they are dropped from a team that’s another thing. But if they want to stay and get the education they came to get they should get it. The only thing is there would have to be some sort of “lack of effort” clause so players wouldn’t take advantage of being recruited by not even trying to make the team.

    I just think there are better ways of doing things than what we see. Players who just choose to transfer should have to pay a penalty. If they have genuine issues that require them to transfer that’s different. Ryan Harrow has to be the prime example here. He chose to transfer once. That cost him a year. He transferred for family reasons (AFAIK) the second time. No penalty should be involved. But the idea of just telling someone like Harrow he would be better off elsewhere so the team can get his scholarship back really stinks. Again both sides should have requirements they need to meet. There’s that question in the back of the mind of many UK fans going back to Rodrick Rhodes. Was he asked to leave to make room? The guy was an All American on some lists but many think Pitino didn’t want him at UK. If that was true that would really stink but only if they totally pulled his scholarship. If a team replaces someone like him for better players then he should be able to transfer and not lose a year IMO.

    I think a lot of the stuff that goes on really stinks and it should be cleaned up and that goes for both sides.

  3. Ben

    There should be no penalty, unless the schools are willing to give a four/five year scholarship! If the schools can refuse to renew a scholarship with no penalty, then the player should have that right too. The schools should have no say in where the player transfers to.

  4. RJ

    Commitments are made on both sides of the transaction when a kid is recruited and signed. But the rules should be applied to school, coaches and players alike. It’s a contract. A scholarship is a contract; an agreement between the school and the player and the coach is the school’s agent. Therefore if a contract can voided by the school without penalty then the player should have that same right otherwise the player is nothing more than chattel.

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