The NCAA might make a lot of mistakes, ok they do, but we’ve got to give them credit when they do the right thing. After an off-season where we saw college basketball players transfer and be granted immediate eligibility for frivolous reasons like their dad being fired as the coach, ahem Trey Ziegler, something was bound to change. Just last season alone nearly 50% of transfers were granted waivers that allowed them to play right away.
Coaches across the country, especially Fred Hoiberg of Iowa State University, have used and abused this rule to their advantage. “The Mayor” was able to stack his roster with transfers Chris Allen and Royce White which got him an NCAA tournament bid. This isn’t pro sports. You can’t have a de facto “free agent” pool.
Some transfers actually do so for legitimate reasons of course but these new guidelines help bring some clarity for the rest of us. Applicants will now need to show some legitimate documentation from a medical professional of a family member’s illness. Additionally, the players new school must be within a 100 mile radius of the immediate family members home. Why 100 miles though? That’s a 2 plus hour drive in many places. If you are really concerned about the health of a family member I would think you’d want to be within an hour drive at most of them, God forbid something were to happen. At least I would.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the NCAA has gone far enough. Why should players get an extra year of eligibility for going to a grad school program? Remember the fraud Jeremiah Masoli from the Oregon Ducks? He left to go to the Ole Miss Rebels following legal troubles. He said it was to study “Parks and Recreation Management”. Well that lasted about six months before he left to go to pro football. I’m sure he’ll be designed your local park anytime now.
Another area of concern is coaches that restrict their players from transferring to certain schools. We saw this recently for the Wisconsin Badgers Jarrod Uthoff. Head coach Bo Ryan banned him from transferring to 25 teams that he wasn’t comfortable with. Of course, his list included his Big Ten rivals, the Marquette Golden Eagles and Iowa State. Talk about trying to make a kid’s life miserable. Eventually it all worked out and Uthoff signed on with Fran McCaffery‘s Iowa Hawkeyes. Still, how many other kids are dealing with the same issues?
Go on the record NCAA, you can continue to change a major problem hampering college athletics.