Last year, Bo Ryan received much criticism for blocking the transfer of Jared Uthoff to up to 25 schools, including not only Big Ten teams, but also others that might be interested in Uthoff. Eventually, after an unexpected backlash, Ryan and Wisconsin relented, and Uthoff was allowed to transfer to any school outside the Big Ten. [Update: Wisconsin eventually removed all restrictions, and Uthoff transferred back to his home state of Iowa and will play for the Hawkeyes.]
Ryan employed the speeding defense, “everyone else is doing it.” He’s probably not wrong on that, but as with the speeding scenario, is not really a defense.
North Carolina State is the latest example, as Rodney Purvis announced his transfer on Monday. Contained within the story about his transfer is the following: “[t]he school has granted Purvis a release to transfer to any school outside the Atlantic Coast Conference except Missouri and Cincinnati, which the program plans to add to its non-conference schedule. The ACC ban includes eventual new arrivals Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Louisville.”
Because of conference expansion to these major conferences, the list of schools is expanding anyway. With four more teams joining the ACC, that adds 15 teams to the list. We can debate the propriety of a conference rule on transfers, but at least if applied uniformly it takes away the appearance of arbitrary or flimsy reasons by an individual program or coach.
The stated reason here for limiting Missouri and Cincinnati is that they may be on the future non-conference schedule for NC State. That’s a fairly flimsy reason to prohibit a student from transferring to a school, considering it is a conscious choice by North Carolina State and they do not have to schedule those schools. Keep in mind that Purvis, like all transfers except for a few limited cases, will have to sit out for a year at any school where he transfers, so he is paying a deterrent penalty to free movement (unlike free agent coaches who transfer frequently). Sorry, but playing a game of one’s choosing shouldn’t be a reason to bar a transfer. We probably won’t here as much because Purvis may have already made his decision (UConn is the rumor), but in some respects, Bo Ryan was right.
That doesn’t make him right, it’s all pretty dumb.
[Update: Cincinnati has announced it will be scheduling NC State in a home game next year. Whether the game is being planned or on the schedule does not impact the opinion that the practice of restricting based on non-conference scheduling is not appropriate.]