It’s time for the NCAA to address the rise of transfers in college basketball


Brian A. Shactman is a reporter for CNBC and the host of the show CNBC SportsBiz, which can be seen on the NBC Sports Network. 

We all know college basketball is big business. Multi-billion dollar TV deals. Multi-million dollar coaches.

But the same is true for college football.

If that’s the case, then riddle me this: Why do twice as many basketball players transfer schools compared to football?

According to USA Today, 440 male players — or 10-percent of all Division I players — switched programs last year.

What’s more — over the last five years — why has the NCAA approved half of all the waivers, which mean the “student-athletes” can play without sitting out a season?

The answer: No one wants to stand in the way of NBA dreams.

So, let’s get this straight. Men’s basketball players only have to go to college for one year before going pro. And if that one year doesn’t set them up well for the NBA draft, the kids are pretty much free to try it again at another school.

“It’s dangerously approaching a free-agency type-system when guys can freely move wherever they want and get to play right away,” said Nicole Auerbach who researched the information for USA Today.

The NCAA did not respond to multiple requests for a comment. But we do know they are setting up a task force to look at the issue.

The numbers don’t lie. For some reason, there is a double standard when it comes to college basketball transfers.

The NCAA needs to make a decision. Either stop pretending and simply allow movement between schools, or enforce the process and make more players stay where they are and honor their scholarships.

We all know major college sports is big business. We also know that the people who profit LEAST are the athletes themselves. If the NCAA is not going to compensate athletes in revenue-generating sports, it should at least make decisions that best serve them — whatever they may be.

Because let’s be honest, it’s another 1-percent vs. 99-percent debate. Only 1-percent of transfers probably make the NBA – most likely, it’s less.

What are the other 99 supposed to do?

Brian A. Shactman hosts CNBC SportsBiz on the NBC Sports Network. He can be reached via Twitter @bshactman.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.