With 450 players switching schools this offseason, the word “epidemic” has been thrown around in some circles. And it’s safe to say that college basketball coaches aren’t too thrilled with the increased number of transfers.
In a story by Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, Southern Illinois head coach Barry Hinson expressed his concern over high-major programs “poaching” the mid-major ranks for players capable of filling a void.
Players had begun to be recruited off their own campuses and were landing at more prestigious programs. And Hinson wanted NCAA officials to be aware. The practice, Hinson says, is one of the reasons for a record number of transfers over the previous two offseasons, and he’s not shy about using a one-word term for the trend.
“Poaching,” Hinson says.
“It’s already a mess,” he adds. “It’s just getting ready to be really bad for programs at the mid-major level.”
Also in the story expressing their concern over the number of transfers in college basketball were Kansas head coach Bill Self and Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber.
The current state of transfers in college basketball is a bit overblown, especially when considering the fact that according to a report from The Chronicle of Higher Education in February 2012 that one in three college students transfer before completing their college degree.
In college basketball, just over one player per team has announced his intentions to move from one program to another this offseason. And it should also be noted that some programs have multiple transfers thanks in large part to coaching changes.
The issue that should truly be of concern is the prospect of programs poaching players from another school. If there are cases of schools tampering with a player, then something should be done by the NCAA.
“If you think for one moment,” says Hinson, who worked on Self’s staff at KU from 2008 to 2012, “that there aren’t staff meetings (at major college programs) taking place in March and April that are bringing up, ‘Who are the best mid-major players out there and do they have the opportunity to graduate in three years?’ Then we are making ourselves look ignorant. That’s happening right now, a lot of places. And if you think for one moment that kids haven’t figured this out, it’s getting ready to be an issue for our level.”
Even with coaches lamenting the current climate, more than a few take advantage of the system and that will continue to be the case. And until there’s change in that regard, it’s a bit silly to use the word “epidemic” when discussing this era of transfers.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.