There is an interesting report this evening from 247 Sports concerning a major potential change to NCAA transfer rules that could create levels of roster turnover never before seen in college sports.
Namely, NCAA members may vote in the spring to end the rule requiring Division I transfers to sit out a year before playing at their new school.
In a potentially paradigm-shifting proposal, the NCAA members may vote to allow all Division-I transfers to be eligible to play immediately. The only potential restrictions are that student-athletes would be asked to meet a minimum GPA, in order to transfer immediately, and that any additional transfer would require the student-athletes to sit out a full year. The proposal, which is being solicited among members for feedback, is gaining increased traction in recent weeks, a source confirms.
The change would apply to all sports, but the greatest impact would seem to fall on college basketball, which has what a lot of coaches consider too many transfers and one-and-dones, and too little continuity as it is. Basketball players can more easily move from one system to another than football players can, and the sport already has a robust market for graduate transfers, who currently don’t have to sit out a year before playing at their new school.
Within recent weeks, it has become more clear that the latter option of immediate eligibility for transfers who achieve a minimum GPA is the one gaining traction amongst members. The proposal must be completed by Nov. 1. The members of the Transfer Working Group will continue to seek feedback from fellow coaches, directors, commissioners and student-athletes in the days ahead, but it is becoming more likely that the proposal will be voted upon next April with the possibility of this going into effect as early as the 2018-19 calendar.
The prospect of this kind of a change hitting college basketball is at once thrilling and horrifying. Thrilling because outside of the games themselves, few things in sports are as dramatic and interesting as players being recruited and picking teams. Horrifying because of the increased potential for prestigious programs to be constantly picking off talented players from lesser programs or conferences, and all the tampering and shenanigans that would go into making it happen.
This makes me worried for college basketball. Yet in the final analysis, I can’t in good conscience take the position that players shouldn’t have the same opportunity to pursue new opportunities that their coaches have.
So saddle up, I guess.