New Transfer Rules Are a Win For Athletes

We've seen it a bunch of times.

Athletes, during the offseason, wanting to transfer and yet end up engulfed by numerous restrictions by their soon-to-be former coach.

Graduate students could transfer freely. Undergraduates couldn't come close. It was a policy full of holes, leaving more questions than answers.

Some of those questions are finally starting to get resolved. Starting in October, new transfer guidelines are coming for NCAA student athletes. Basically, the power is going to shift from the coach to the student-athlete when it comes to the desires of the latter to transfer.

A student-athlete will now be able to express their intent to transfer and the school must submit their name to a national transfer list within 48 hours. Coaches will no longer have the ability to restrict schools from contacting the athlete (hence, Texas A&M can pick up a transfer from Texas even if Tom Hermann is strongly against the switch). The undergraduate player finally has the freedom to make their choices when it comes to what school they attend.

Resolving a problem before it can fester, the NCAA also announced they will dole out stricter penalties for schools that attempt to tamper with a student athlete at another school who isn't on the national transfer list. The elephant in the room still remains, as boosters likely will feel more tempted to lure athletes to their school as there's no more restrictions that a coach may add. However, tightening the penalties now sends a warning shot to boosters everywhere when it comes to trying to steal a good player from their first school of choice.

This has been a long time coming from the NCAA and it's about time legislation like this was passed. Coaches, after all, are free to leave for the school of their choice, or even the NFL. Furthermore, if that coach leaves and someone with a completely different scheme is hired, a player should have the right to find a school and system that fits their strengths. Players shouldn't have to be bound by different rules and it's good to see that things have significantly evened up.

While schools, individually, won't have the option to block other schools from contacting a transfer, conferences will still be given the right. This is a good policy to have, as it puts the onus on conferences to demand good character from their student-athletes. The SEC, for example, banned the acceptance of any transfer who was kicked off his original team for domestic violence and assault issues. Conferences can really up the ante further, restricting transfers for those who are kicked off for any illegal activity whatsoever. For the privilege to play sports, athletes can be held to an even higher standard, which will benefit both the athlete and the school itself.

Yes, the NCAA will have to restructure its APR policy. Yes, there's going to be a lot of coaches who have to re-think their own personal strategies when it comes to managing their team. And yes, stipends will definitely have to be strongly considered, as they greatly differ between schools and cost of living does not appear to be a significant factor in the amount given for each stipend. The NCAA is going to have to carefully tread through these issues as they try to provide a more balanced way to handle this dilemma.

But for once, a policy was passed by the NCAA that directly benefits the student athlete more than their institutions. This is a positive step for the NCAA. They've got a long way to go. But they've taken the first step forward.

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