As Rob Dauster showed Friday morning, the pressure of negative public opinion can make a seemingly hard-lined position crack and ultimately crumble.
Bo Ryan has relaxed the transfer restrictions he placed on freshman Jarrod Uthoff, due mostly to a public relations disaster on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” radio show that painted Ryan as unsympathetic and defensive.
Now, without naming names, NCAA President Mark Emmert has made a comment.
In a tweet from the NCAA’s account Friday morning was a paraphrased comment from Emmert, reading, “transfer rules need to be looked at to be sure they are fair to student-athletes. And they are too complicated.”
Whether one wants to point fingers at the so-called “Me Culture” of college basketball, the perceived increase in influence from AAU coaches, or the highly restrictive NCAA recruiting calendar, the transfer system has a problem, regardless of who is to blame for it.
There have been 341 transfers in college basketball this offseason. There are 345 Division I programs. So, as Tim McCormick points out, that is nearly one per program.
It is a difficult balance to find when discussing the topic.
On one hand, for all the restrictions placed on college athletes, it seems one of the few rights that remains guaranteed is the right to play where one feels most comfortable, integrated with the staff, etc.
On the other hand, we have reached near-epidemic levels with just the sheer volume of transfers. Prominent players are transferring and applying for hardship waivers, which in itself is a difficult term to quantify, mucking up the process even more.
Whatever combination of factors it is that has gotten the NCAA in this situation, Emmert is correct to comment (however vaguely) on the subject. Let’s see if public pressure spurs more action.