The NCAA loves to tout the idea of the student-athlete. It's their bread and butter. The concept helps them in two ways. First, it drives home the idea that college athletes are first and foremost there to be students and receive an education. Second, it drives home the idea that these are amateur athletes and therefore not entitled to the billions of dollars generated on their behalf.
So while the NCAA usually makes terrible decisions, those terrible decisions usually come in the name of defending this silly student-athlete ideal. But now there's news that the NCAA wants to end the practice of immediate eligibility for transfer waivers as well as put limits on graduate transfers.
Immediately eligibility would still be available for transfer waivers, but only in "extremely limited circumstances". The Leadership Council report has no indication what those circumstances might be. For graduate transfers, the subcommittee is also asked to consider whether tougher academic eligibility standards for graduate students are necessary. Currently graduate students must only be enrolled full-time, remain in good standing, and pass six hours each semester, with no percentage-of-degree requirements, minimum GPA, or additional credit hour requirements.
We already knew a lot of people have bugs up their ass about transfer waivers and their usage. Jim Boeheim isn't one of them, FYI. It's the grad transfer thing that seems crazy to me and I'll let this tweet sum it up perfectly...
The graduate waiver thing is great. Ties to them being actual STUDENT-athletes. But yeah, let's get rid of that.
— Bill Connelly (@SBN_BillC) January 2, 2014
Exactly. The graduate transfer not only doesn't hurt anyone but it also fulfilled both roles of the "student-athlete" mythos perfectly.
Student: The person gets to attain a graduate degree from a top-notch university.
Athlete: The person gets a chance to improve their professional stock for when they leave college and enter the working world.
How could the NCAA possibly be against that? Oh, right…they're the NCAA.
Hitting closer to home, if they removed or limited the grad transfer rules, that could put an end to Syracuse's tradition of bringing in a grad transfer QB every four years. Greg Paulus and Drew Allen both took advantage of the opportunity and while you could argue neither really had any long-term effect on our program, both got the chances they were looking for and earned (or are earning) graduate degrees.
It's a win-win, even if those wins didn't really show up on the football field. So naturally, the NCAA should get rid of it...