VETTEL: Transfers Should Not Have To Sit

Urban Meyer left Utah and began coaching immediately in Gainesville. Billy Gillespie walked out on Texas A&M and stepped right onto the court in Lexington. In the land of the NCAA coaches with multiple years left on their contracts are free to jump from job to job and not miss a beat.

The same applies to Athletic Directors, Trainers, Sports Information Directors and Broadcasters. Yes, in the open minded free wheeling world of intercollegiate athletics, everyone is free to change schools and keep on doing what they do.

Except, that is for student-athletes. The indentured servants of college sports are required to sit out an entire year if they have the audacity to follow the example of their elders, and it's not right.

Hypocrisy Reigns Supreme

Those who support the requirement that student-athletes sit out a year after transferring love to cite the typical reasons: there would be massive transferring across the board, other schools would recruit kids from other campuses, players would change schools for the "wrong" reasons and some schools would load up on "free agents". Let's examine those issues.

There would be massive transferring --- I seriously doubt it; because student-athletes who want to leave have to have somewhere to go. You could still require a release from the previous school for immediate eligibility but if there's no objection to it, why not?

Schools would continue to recruit your kids --- The NCAA already has provisions for dealing with schools that tamper with student-athletes, so there's a mechanism in place for handling that issue. You could increase penalties for tampering (two scholarships for every incidence?) that would provide an added deterrent.

Kids would transfer for the "wrong" reasons ---- Well isn't this just a little arrogant? NCAA schools don't seem to worry about kids who choose schools for the wrong reasons, but once they are on campus Big Brother will decide what are the right and wrong reasons for changing schools.

Schools would load up on free agents --- Any school that built a reputation as a "haven" for transfers would see its recruiting severely undermined and that would do serious harm over the long term. Additionally I will propose legislation that helps prevent this from happening.

The idealistic side of me would like to see a system by which student-athletes didn't need anyone's permission to switch schools, but that's unrealistic. So let's look at some sensible rules that would allow student-athletes to change schools without losing a season of competition.

You must get a release --- There should be two types of release, one for immediate eligibility and one requiring a student-athlete to sit out a year. The school must explain in writing why the restriction is being required, and there must a method of appealing that decision. Limitations on where a student-athlete can go are limited to in-state and in-conference institutions plus any school on the schedule in the next two seasons.

You get one transfer, ever --- This will help ensure limited and sensible decisions because you don't get another bite at the apple. Once you enter your second institution, that's it. So you better get right.

You can't play for two schools in one academic year --- No switching basketball teams in December/January. Even coaches don't get to do that!

Schools are limited to ten transfers a year --- No school can accept more than five male and five female student athletes from other schools in a single school year. No more than two of those five can be in any one sport. This effectively addresses the "haven" concern, and forces schools to be as judicious as possible in accepting transfers.

You must be in good standing --- You cannot transfer and be immediately eligible unless you are on good terms at your current school. This should be designed to include all behavioral, academic and legal issues.

Those rules would inject some much needed fairness into the transfer rules of the NCAA and allow the student-athletes some level of freedom in getting our of what they consider to be a bad situation. There's nothing wrong with that.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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