Most of the time, coaches talking about transfer rules comes off as extremely biased.
It feels like the majority of coaches would prefer to restrict potential transfers instead of giving them more opportunities.
The current rules certainly favor the coaches. A player has to request for his or her release, which the coach has to sign off on. The coach can then restrict schools if it so chooses. The player can then transfer, but it has to sit out a year. That is, assuming we’re talking about an undergraduate student.
It’s a popular topic of discussion with the recent proposal to allow for players to leave their school without restrictions or sitting a year IF their coach leaves the program or IF their program receives sanctions (Shea Patterson would probably like that). The only restriction would be that the players can’t follow a departed coach to their new school. Other than that, coaches can’t restrict where they wind up.
Some, like Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, came out and opposed the proposed rule because it would create “chaos.”
Whatever the case, it seems like coaches usually of oppose any transfer rule that benefits the student-athlete.
Pat Fitzgerald offered up something on the Big Ten Teleconference that actually favors both parties:
I like Pat Fitzgerald’s thought on the transfer issue. He says players should be required to sit out a year — but if academic benchmarks are met, they can recover that season of eligibility at the end of their college careers.
— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) April 11, 2018
Crazy concept, right?
I don’t necessarily know what those benchmarks would be. Maybe just graduating? Perhaps being within a semester of graduating? How about maintaining above a 3.0 GPA? You can play around with it.
The basic idea makes a lot of sense. How fitting that an idea with some academic motivation would come from the Northwestern coach.
As far as the “sitting out a year” thing I can understand both sides of that argument. In terms of scholarships available and having any idea what to do in recruiting, it’d be madness if student-athletes could transfer and play immediately. We’d have even more stories of recruits getting scholarships taken away and current players having illegal contact with other schools.
In Fitzgerald’s scenario, sitting out a year still makes this a long-term decision. Why not incentivize academic performance to get another year of eligibility? Instead of losing that year because the NCAA has no other way to de-incentivize transferring, it makes perfect sense to allow an opportunity to recover one more season.
And speaking of things that make perfect sense with transfers, here’s another thought from Fitzgerald that even Jay Bilas can agree with (the first part):
Pat Fitzgerald on transfer proposals:
"In 13 years I've never blocked a player from a transfer. I believe if a young man doesn't want to be here anymore, I'd sit down with him and his family . . . I do believe though that a young man should have to sit out."
— Andrew Doughty (@Adoughty88) April 11, 2018
Perhaps Fitzgerald, after spending the last 25 years in college football, might have finally found the perfect tweak to the transfer rule. It’s rare that you see a solution that can benefit both sides when usually it’s guys like Swinney on one side and guys like Bilas on the other.
Who knows if the NCAA will actually listen to something so smart or if it’ll insist on not making any substantial changes to its outdated set of transfer rules.
Here’s hoping that Fitzgerald is heard loud and clear.