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NCAA transfer proposal is an open-door invitation to rampant cheating

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One NCAA transfer proposal is appallingly bad. Of course it’s becoming popular.

NCAA Football: SEC Media Days
You can not mean this slogan and then expect also-rans to not be led into temptation.
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To call this working group proposal “paradigm shifting” is an undersell.

It’s no secret that most stakeholders are displeased with the NCAA’s transfer policies, conflicting conference and school procedures, and the patchwork transfer regs among member institutions and conferences. And, truthfully, there have been instances of injustice, real and imagined. The NCAA sought to address the issue and create a more coherent, uniform procedure going forward. One proposal, however, is an absolute disaster in-waiting.

Andrew Slater at National 247 has an excellent piece on the NCAA’s transfer working group and the policies it has proposed. You need to read it in its entirety, but here are the Cliff Notes:

By late June, the Transfer Working Group made progress on creating uniformity in transfer rules. They contemplated two polar-opposite options: the first was to require every student-athlete to sit out a year, while the second option was to enable every student-athlete to be immediately eligible upon transferring to a new school, as long as they achieved a minimum GPA designed to lead the student-athlete ultimately to graduate.

TWG Chairman Justin Sell, Athletic Director of South Dakota State, told NCAA Associate Director of Public and Media Relations Michelle Brutlag Hosick at the time, “I am thrilled with the great progress made this week, and I’m confident we can move forward with some initial concepts for consideration in this year’s legislative cycle. We are working toward academics-based, data-driven decisions that benefit student-athletes, teams and schools.”

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.

There are so many problems here that I can barely begin to address them .

Suffice it to say that the biggest concern I have, one which an idiot savant can foresee, is an immediate increase in corruption from yet another attempt to legislatively create a de facto free agency period. You could not craft a more open invitation to cheating, hundred-dollar handshakes, back-channel negotiations, and the involvement of shady third-parties if you tried.

Those concerns of clean(ish) competitiveness are lessened if there are no exceptions, not vice-versa.

There are ways to address fundamental fairness to all parties involved, that do promote the NCAA’s core academic and amateurism missions. Creating a period of contractual interference and then tempting high stakes millionaires to molest the rule book are not goals anyone should laud, and certainly not ones the NCAA should encourage.

Back to the drawing board, folks.


The NCAA TWG proposal for immediate eligibility is...

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  • 85%
    A terrible idea
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  • 4%
    A great idea
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