As the Texas Tech Red Raiders prepare to take on the Virginia Cavaliers in tonight’s NCAA Championship game, some in the NCAA want to change a rule which has benefited Tech this season. A proposal to add extra restrictions on graduate students in football and basketball will be voted on in a couple of weeks.
The proposed rule change would require that colleges accepting graduate transfers be docked a scholarship the next year if the transfer does not earn his secondary degree within a year.
If the rule is passed an athlete like Matt Mooney might not find themselves in a position to finish their career at another school after finishing an undergraduate degree. Mooney who led the way in the National Semifinal only left South Dakota after his head coach took another job. He was joined in Lubbock by Tariq Owens another graduate transfer and the duo have helped the school reach their first Final Four.
Both players admit that the move was done with athletics in mind and maybe they won’t finish graduate degrees. Why should that matter? Why should the school face a scholarship penalty if the player moves on after the one year? There is no scholarship penalty for other early departures in these sports and most of those students are leaving without a degree.
The Syracuse Orange have certainly benefited from the ability to bring in graduate transfers to compete and contribute. Without the rule we wouldn’t have John Gillon’s buzzer-beater against the Duke Blue Devils or seen Koda Martin clearing the way for Eric Dungey last Fall.
Justin Sell, AD at South Dakota State and the head of the Division I Transfer Group said this about the proposal
“We really want to protect against the football player who is done and leaves in December and the basketball player who is done and leaves in March,” Sell said. “A lot of students are looking to use it to play another year. Who’s seriously there for the master’s?”
What’s there to protect Justin? The television ratings for every Duke game this year led the way and fans certainly didn’t care that Zion Williamson wasn’t in Durham for his education.
I know we hear about the “transfer epidemic” all the time but what’s interesting to me is that a rule like this is actually going to hurt smaller schools more than the P5. Don’t believe me- just check out The Grad Transfer Tracker and see for yourself. This is just a very short-sighted reaction to an issue which doesn’t deserve a lot of focus.
It’s incredibly baffling to me that administrators spend so much time trying to control the graduate transfers after they spend the rest of their time telling us all that education is what matters most. If a school wants to accept a graduate student transfer, that should be left up to them. Even if these athletes only partially complete a graduate program while competing, what’s so bad about that anyway?
Tonight when people are watching the title game, no one’s going to care about the academic performance of anyone on the court. We want to sit back and watch Mooney and Kyle Guy put on a shooting exhibition. We want to see Owens and Mamadi Diakite rejecting shots. One Shining Moment doesn’t happen in a classroom, it’s happening on a court in front of 72,000 fans so let’s keep things in perspective.