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.

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)