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NCAA might alter transfer rules, but it’s not as great as it sounds

Leave it to the NCAA to muddle things unnecessarily

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Syracuse
Solving the “transfer epidemic” should be a lay up
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Potentially big news surfaced on Tuesday when reports came out that the NCAA might have their members vote on new transfer guidelines.

This new rule, which might be voted on in time to take effect for the 2018-19 season, would require athletes to meet a minimum GPA to be able to play immediately at their new school. Now, let me first say that removing the rule which forces transfers to sit a year is a good thing, even if you are bitter about the Syracuse Orange losing Taurean Thompson to the Seton Hall Pirates. Being eligible to play immediately is something that all D1 sports should be doing, so this is a step forward....

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

However, now that we’ve gotten the good news out of the way, the proposed rule change brings even more questions to mind. Right now, not all D1 sports require that transfers sit a year, so will this new rule change that? Does this mean that football and basketball transfers benefit while soccer or hockey transfers might suffer? What is this minimum GPA going to be, will it be based upon the NCAA eligibility guidelines, or are we deciding that anyone with a 3.5 or higher gets to play right away?

Former UMass Minuteman player Luke Bonner brings up an interesting point related to the timing of the change.

Would this new rule allow the NCAA to defend their policies by pointing out that “good students” aren’t punished when they transfer? If it is, then it’s just a poor reaction to this notion of a “transfer epidemic plaguing D1 athletics.” Think there are a lot of transfers now? Remove the restriction on playing right away and watch what happens.

I’m not just going to complain without offering a solution, so here you go:

  • Give all athletes five years of eligibility
  • Allow a one-time transfer with immediate eligibility to play at the new school. This can be taken at any point in the five years, not just at the graduate level. A second transfer, like Andrew White and John Gillon last year, would not receive that same opportunity
  • The only GPA qualification should be the NCAA eligibility guidelines. Sometimes a college student chooses the wrong major and putting transfer eligibility on a GPA can lead to more concerns regarding clustering in majors or academic integrity. No one wants that.
  • Put the onus on the school accepting the transfer. Any school which takes a transfer becomes responsible for that athlete’s success so make them responsible for a scholarship for the remainder of the student’s eligibility. This isn’t meant to penalize an athlete, but it will force schools to really look at who they decide to bring in (or should I say who they let their coaches decide to bring in).

This situation is certainly worth monitoring as it potentially moves through the NCAA Legislative Process. If you’d like to share your own thoughts, or want to hear more about my ideas, use the comments.