It’s Time To Change Transfer Limitations

December 6th, 2017 | by Matthew Monte
It’s Time To Change Transfer Limitations


In the wake of the sanctions placed on Ole Miss football for multiple violations of NCAA rules, it was announced that, as of this past Monday, seniors on the Ole Miss football team would be granted a waiver to transfer from the program without the requisite year of ineligibility. As usual, this came with caveats.

Initially, contact and transfers were restricted. Players were limited from taking their talents to other SEC programs, or to any program that fell on Ole Miss’ 2018 or 2019 football schedule. (Although Ole Miss administrators contest that any player that would have been interested in one of these programs would have been granted a waiver.) Whether it was unfavorable media coverage or mounting pressure from parents of student-athletes that felt deceived, Ole Miss did eventually remove all restrictions on where their senior football players could transfer.

The entire series of events was predictable. In today’s climate, through the shouts of more rights for student-athletes, limitations on transfers have become a major bugaboo. Restricting where a student-athlete can go is bad enough to some, but compounded by the usual year of inneligibility, the public vitriol toward the transfer process has been a thorn in the side of administrators across the country.

From a program’s standpoint, limitations seem logical. You’ve invested months and sometimes years into the development of these players, and allowing them to jump to a rival program on a moment’s notice can not only nullify all of your efforts but in some cases even put you at a competitive disadvantage.

The reality, however, is that the age of putting seemingly arbitrary restrictions on a single player which only stand to benefit a multimillion-dollar program is coming to an end. The public will just not have it anymore, and to some degree, they are right to be indignant. A single player can change the course of a game, but will never be larger than the program they are transferring to or from. For this reason, I propose some simple changes to the transfer process that should mitigate at least some of the concern.

1) Ban restrictions on where a player can transfer. This is the first, most obvious change, and the one that will get the biggest pushback. Schools can no longer be seen putting overbearing restrictions on student-athletes, especially when they could theoretically interfere with the player’s educational goals.

2) Allow athletes to play without sitting out a year. The rise in graduate transfers have shown this to be feasible. The one caveat I would include would be that players can transfer only once without losing a year of eligibility. This would include graduate transfers.

3) Limit the number of Division-I transfers a program can sign in a single year. This is where schools get some of the control back. The concern is that a program could just amass a super team of standout athletes from across the country. By limiting the number of D-I transfers to, say, three per year with no more than two from a single program, a school would not be able to completely wipe out a rival.

4) Require potential transfers to surrender their current scholarship before contact is allowed. This would probably be the most controversial change and the hardest to enforce, but it would require a student-athlete to declare their intention to leave prior to shopping around for a better deal than they have.

These simple changes would be seen by many as progress toward a more player-friendly NCAA while still preserving some of the control programs need. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

About Matthew Monte
Matthew Monte is Managing Editor of College AD and formerly Co-Managing Editor of Underdog Dynasty. He is a graduate of The B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration at UL Lafayette, mostly because it didn't require a foreign language. Matt is also a recovering stand up comedian who occasionally relapses.

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