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NCAA transfer rules could see big changes soon

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It wouldn’t change everything, however.

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange have found themselves involved more and more on the transfer market for both football and basketball lately.

In men’s hoops, Syracuse has added Elijah Hughes and Geno Thorpe (2017), along with John Gillon and Andrew White III (2016) in the last couple seasons alone. On the football side, Dino Babers has filled key spots with grad transfer players like Devin M. Butler, Jordan Martin, De’Jon Wilson and of course, Amba Etta-Tawo. This offseason, SU’s added undergrad transfers (who will have to wait a year to play) in Michigan State’s Trishton Jackson and Oklahoma’s Abdul Adams.

We’ve also seen our fair share of players leave, and other players find themselves unable to join SU due to NCAA transfer rules, which are currently very open to interpretation. Schools can block players from heading to any number of destinations, whether they’re on future schedules or not. However, that may not be the case much longer, according to one ESPN report from Mitch Sherman.

The basics: Players would no longer need to request to be released from their scholarship, and instead just enter a “transfer portal” to be re-recruited by new programs. There would still be limitations in terms of intra-conference moves (each league would keep their own rules there). But by and large, players would be able to pursue the idea of “free agency” when they want to change programs, and have almost full control over where they play next.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Georgia Tech Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Something like this might have changed the landing spot for a player like Miami’s Gus Edwards, who was blocked from both Syracuse and Pitt last year since they were both on the Hurricanes’ 2017 schedule. He’d end up at Rutgers instead.

However, it’s notable this wouldn’t change the undergrad waiting period, no matter which school players elect to go to. That aspect of things — another hotly debated topic — would remain, forcing players like Adams and Jackson for the Orange football program to keep waiting until the following year to get back out on the field.

Still, that aspect could eventually end up on the table in the future. The NCAA budging on this long-derided policy issue is a great step in the right direction if it ends up going through (would be effective October 15 of this year). Coaches can leave wherever and whenever they want, without punishment. Players should be able to have the same freedom -- and would here, aside from conference stipulations.

Perhaps if the results of this potential move are seen positively over the next season or two, attention can then switch over to the waiting period. A solution like allowing one “free” transfer over the course of a college career could solve a lot of administrative issues for the NCAA, and do more in favor of student athletes’ well-being.

Like the idea? Think it needs more to truly work. Share your own way to fix this aspect of the NCAA’s flawed system below.