Column: Proposal Could Create Wild West In The Transfer Market

Column: Proposal Could Create Wild West In The Transfer Market

Officials from a number of NCAA conferences have recently stated their support for a proposal to grant a one-time exemption for student-athletes to transfer from one Division I school to another without having to sit out a year.

Shane Lyons

Currently D-I student-athletes in five sports – football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball and men’s ice hockey – are required to sit out what the NCAA calls a “year in residency” if they wish to transfer unless they are graduate transfers or receive a waiver from the NCAA. Student-athletes in all other varsity sports are not required to sit a year if they transfer.

“I’m supportive of (the one-time exemption),” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told ESPN. “I think it was almost unanimous (among the Big Ten A.D.s). At the end of the day, we need to provide those kids in those five sports the same opportunities as those in the other sports have. At the end of the day, everybody else has choice. Why can’t they have a choice?”

Of course, that’s assuming that the choice in the other sports like track, swimming, volleyball, softball, etc., is right in the first place.

Admittedly freedom of choice is an American right, but many in the general population are bound by contracts that don’t provide for unfettered movement.

Allowing all Division I student-athletes an opportunity for one transfer without having to sit out would seem likely to create a free agency system within college athletics, and is that really best for any involved, the student-athlete or the sport?

Already more than 14.3% of Division I basketball players are transferring each year, according to the NCAA’s own database, and 4.1% of FBS football players do the same. Opening up opportunities to transfer without having to sit a year will obviously only increase those rates.

Certainly not all transfers are wrong. WVU men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins (Ohio University to West Virginia) and football coach Neal Brown (Kentucky to Massachusetts) transferred during their playing days, and each thrived with their move.

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It’s not the ability to transfer that is the issue but allowing all to have a one-time exemption to immediate eligibility is the problem. It will likely create a Wild, Wild West when it comes D-I athletics.

West Virginia director of athletics Shane Lyons put forth another idea when it comes to transfer eligibility. His thought is that, other than grad transfers, nearly all transfers should have to sit out a year in residency, thus limiting the waivers for immediate eligibility. But his proposal would also allow the student-athlete the opportunity to recoup that lost year of eligibility on the back end. So the year of residency becomes in essence a redshirt, even if they student-athlete had previously used one. Thus they could be a fifth-year senior or even a sixth-year senior at the end of their careers, but most will have to sit out a year directly after their transfer.

That seems like a good compromise in which a student-athlete has freedom to transfer, but it also doesn’t necessarily open up the Pandora’s Box of college free agency.

“What we’re trying to do is force the issue so we can get all of Division I, the Power 5, to go on record and say: Where are you at on this thing?” an unnamed Big Ten A.D. told ESPN. “Can we do it in a way that allows us to maintain the values we have in college athletics, and not have it turn into total free agency? We have to come together on it.”

Discussion is good and some changes to the current transfer rules are necessary, but the one-time exemption seems like an idea filled with harmful consequences. The NCAA seems to be quickly barreling down that path, though.

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    Column: Proposal Could Create Wild West In The Transfer Market Officials from a number of NCAA conferences have recently stated their support for a pr
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    It will change things but I think it is fair.  Like Lyons proposal as well.  His might even be better.


    I like Lyons plan as well, but I would like to see them also address the issue of football transfers tying up a scholarship number in the 25 limit per year.  Loosing a player to the portal should free up their scholarship regardless of the annual limit of scholarships involved in the new recruiting class.


    . “Can we do it in a way that allows us to maintain the values we have in college athletics, and not have it turn into total free agency? We have to come together on it.”

    “Values we have”!
    Other than the school’s values, aka known as “Incoming bucks”,
    what does this mean?

    What reason is there to let coaches come and go and players not?


    14.3% of BB players and 4.1% FB players transferring.  What was it before the portal?

    1 time waiver without something on the other end to keep coaches from poaching kids and to get around the 25 limit in FB needs to be addressed.

    Once the Genie is out of the box it’s impossible to put him back in.

    Unintended consequences is a coach puts a lot of time, effort, training into a kid. The University pays for his books, tuition, room, board, tutoring, gives a stipend, and any medical needed for a year or two or three then he takes off for greener grass.

    I’d like to see the transfers that teams like Dooke, Zags, Nova, UNCheat, KU and UK get in BB.  Clemson, Bama, tOSU, OKla in FB.  ……  and how they are “recruited” to transfer.


    Here’s an interesting question that needs drilled down:

    Without mentioning money!

    “Why do schools give athletic scholarships?”


    I’m old school…getting a scholarship is a great honor. Was it not about getting an education. So you had to

    play a sport. What happened to the no freshman play rule, getting a student athlete ready for college and

    sports at that level. What happened to ones WORD. IMO we as humans only two things of value……..



    I guess I’m old school too because I don’t think transferring is always the best choice for a student-athlete.  Sometimes it is, like when a coach and player sit down and agree that it would be in the student-athlete’s best interests to move on.  But, if you’re not getting much playing time, instead of sulking and looking around to other schools, why not listen to your coaches about how you can improve/  Then put in the extra hours of practice to achieve your goals.  It’s quite likely that if you listen to you coaches and put in the extra effort, you can find success where you are instead of having to move on.  In other words, I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing for the student-athletes to make it easier to transfer because transferring might not address the underlying problems.


    Well said Oldguyeer… guess is if you put in the effort and are a half decent ball player, Huggs will

    put you on the floor. But maybe, just maybe you are not as good at this level as you think. Bottom line

    you are getting an education both in schooling and LIFE. Stay put and ENJOY IT.


    I’m with you Oldguy.  But it’s the way society is today.  It’s immediate gratification.  If I don’t get what I want right now, I’m going to find it elsewhere.  Grass is always greener for these kids.  Many of them just don’t want to work to get better and feel that they are being taken advantage of.

    There are some cases where kids are playing at their individual highest level but are over recruited by better athletes.  IMO this is what happened with Beetle and he went on to another D1 team to be the backup there.  He’s getting about the same minutes but less production on a much worse team.  I would seriously doubt that he would get the 21min/gm at WVU this year with the two Mac’s in front of him.  In that case the transfer was a good thing for him.

    We may have another player (or two) on the team this year in that same position.


    Blame the me now generation for the mess in college sports that once was an amateur sport for the opportunity to get a free education. But somebody saw a market and put it use and college sports has been a media money maker ever since. The dollar bill is behind all this mess. It’s time to either crack down on this stuff or do away with label of college team. Have it separate from the college with exception of name only. Be affiliated by the school. Pay the kids money and if they want to attend the college the team is affiliated with then they can do so. Become the minor leagues for professional sports. There would be no eligibility rules and free agency with trades would be a viable option.

    Those Schools that can’t afford this option can go back to what college sports was intended to be.

    Money has destroyed the college sports.


    Well said Allen.   But the blame isn’t on the me generation kids.  It’s on us.  Me and You generations that coddled these kids to think that they deserve everything now.  And Me and You for putting together the system that allowed the big money backers to put their grubby little fingers and money into the pockets of the kids …… AND their handlers.

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Home Page forums Column: Proposal Could Create Wild West In The Transfer Market

Home Page forums Column: Proposal Could Create Wild West In The Transfer Market