The transfer system in college football and basketball is broken and needs to be fixed, but the NCAA’s plan to grant an automatic one-time waiver with no consequences or conditions makes a bad situation even worse.
I will give college coaches and the NCAA credit, they sure are doing a tremendous job of spinning their reasons for this move, and many are eating it up. It’s being spun as a win for the players, who now get free rein to transfer, no matter the reason.
There are a lot of problems with the old system, and it was way beyond time that it was adjusted and corrected, but this is not the way, not if we truly care about what’s best for players.
PROBLEMS WITH OLD SYSTEM
The issue with the old system, as I see it, is it was too restrictive. A player had to sit out a year, and the only way to fix that was to go through an appeal process. That appeal process was turned into an absolute joke, with big-name players (especially quarterbacks) getting waivers while players with real justifications (remember Alohi Gilman) were told, “Sorry, you’re out of luck.”
The current process required players to make a case for immediate eligibility, and the easiest way to do that was to hire a lawyer, throw dirt and in some cases, outright lie in an attempt to get a pass.
PROBLEM WITH ONE-TIME TRANSFER RULE
There are a number of problems with the one-time transfer rule. It’s being pushed as a player rights or player freedom ruling, but let’s be honest, if it was, there would be no way in the world coaches and big-time programs would be pushing for it. Think logically for a second, the system that you think has been taking advantage of players is just going to on its own make a rule change that is in the benefit of the players? Come on.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is one advocate for this new rule. If he was such a staunch advocate for player freedoms, why did he fight so hard to prevent former players from gaining immediately eligibility when they left his program?
Let’s be honest about what this rule is about, and let’s be honest about the “unintended consequences” that will come from it.
Is it a shock that as grad transfers and other transfer quarterbacks started winning titles that coaches started pushing for this rule? It shouldn’t surprise you. This push from colleges and coaches is all about creating a new recruiting base for the major conferences, and this time it will be more ready-made players compared to prep players.
Look, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Notre Dame aren’t going to lose starters to one-time transfers. The younger players they lose can be replaced by other transfers or high school recruits. Those programs will, however, start making a killing when it comes to poaching starters from programs like Kentucky, NC State, Indiana and Iowa State.
Does anyone really