Doug Robinson: NCAA should change antiquated transfer rules and allow athletes to switch schools like coaches do
No less than Mark Emmert, the executive director of the NCAA, told ESPN, "my biggest concern … (is) whether it's fair or not to the young men and young women. What's the rationale for constraining someone to move from school to school."
The rationale, of course, is competitive balance, but the movement of players isn't that much more damaging than the movement of coaches and is probably less expensive. Players are going to go where there are opportunities, just as coaches do, and the talent will spread itself out. A quarterback isn't going to go to a school already loaded with quarterbacks. For that matter, there isn't much competitive balance under the current system anyway.
Since most schools are granting releases anyway, why not let them play immediately? As Holmoe notes, there are already exceptions made for that.
"At BYU, we have generally found that it's best to let them go," says Holmoe. "And in some cases, we've even waived the rule so they can compete immediately."
BYU reasons that if a player doesn't want to be there, then he shouldn't be there and they'll try to accommodate his desire to transfer. Most schools adopt that policy when it comes to coaches — if a coach doesn't want to be there, they don't want to hold him there over a contract. Why not apply the same policy to the athletes?
Last year in California, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill called the "Student-Athlete Bill of Rights" which, among other things will require state schools to "approve without delay a student-athlete's request for transfer to another institution of higher education without imposing restrictions or conditions." As of last January, it will apply to schools that average more than $10 million a year in media revenues.
"I'm not a big proponent of that one (the transfer rule)," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told USA Today columnist Bob Kravitz a couple of weeks ago. "If there was a players' union, these kids would go at any time, anywhere. Just like coaches. And they'd get benefits … We have a kid sitting out who transferred for all the right reasons. They lost their college coach. And he's not eligible to play … They give a lot, and they're taken advantage of. They are."
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