In recent years, seemingly more and more NCAA football players elect to transfer schools, usually sitting out a year. Also, It has become more commonplace for graduate transfers to finish school at another university and be granted immediate eligibility at their new university. With the addition of the “Transfer Portal” tracking the number of players has become much easier and it has allowed players an avenue to test “free agency,” as it were. Rewind ten years ago, and most of these discussions happened behind closed and the road to transferring was much muddier.
I agree that players jumping ship has gotten out of hand, and the transfer portal, while set up with good intentions has opened up other issues. Some coaches have told players that if they enter the portal, they will not be allowed back on the team, all but forcing their hand to leave. Strange, though, that those same coaches bring in transfer players and take job interviews at other universities. The system has it’s challenges anyone it’s sliced.
The Big Ten Conference recently made a suggestion to curb the amount of transfer, or at the very least, add an element of structure. The suggestion isn’t uncommon in collegiate sports, just the largest money generating sports. Big Ten Conference athletic directors are supporting a one-time transfer exemption for all sports, which would allow college athletes to move from one Division I school to another without sitting out a year, Ohio State AD Gene Smith told ESPN.
A one-time transfer exemption currently is allowed in all but five Division I sports: football, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball and men's ice hockey. Athletes transferring in those sports must sit out a year of competition unless they graduate from their original institution or obtain an immediate-eligibility waiver from the NCAA.
"I'm supportive of [the one-time exemption]," Smith said. "I think it was almost unanimous. 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?"
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel earlier told CBS Sports that a one-time exemption is "the right thing to do," and said the current rules affect several sports where the majority of athletes are minorities. CBS Sports reported that the Big Ten first submitted a proposal to the NCAA in July and refined it in October, but the NCAA's board of directors implemented the moratorium on Nov. 1, saying it would gather more information during the following year.
"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?" a Big Ten athletic director 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."
I say, leave it to the NCAA to flip a coin on these issues. Very rarely are precedents followed 100% and it seems that the players with the best legal representation normally have more favorable outcomes in regards to elbility.
I think the Big Ten ADs make a good point. What is the expectation? What is the structure? can get behind a one time. Makes coaches leaving less of a problem, too because players then have the same option.
Between players being able to make money off their likeness and transfer rules, it’ll be interesting to see how the NCAA monitors these hot topics. Will it continue to be like the wild west? Most likely.