One of the most controversial topics in college basketball these days is the “free agency” of the transfer market.
Depending on who you ask, this is one of the biggest issues plaguing the game. Players leave school before they even have a chance to unpack. Immediate eligibility waivers — whether they are do to hardships or graduate transfers — are what is spurring the process on. To a point, that’s correct. You’re foolish if you transfer and don’t apply for some kind of waiver. Some have gone as far as to call it an epidemic.
We have an issue with any kind of hinderance on the movement of an amateur athlete. These kids are students first, right? Isn’t that what the NCAA tells us? They’re amateurs, so they can’t get a cut of the billions upon billions of dollars that are generated annually by college athletics? So if they’re students, why is there any restriction on their ability to move around to different campuses? Have you ever heard about the transfer epidemic for veterinarian students?
Well, there appears to be a movement in process to try to get some of those transfer waivers eliminated, according to John Infante of the ByLaw Blog. A year ago, the push was to try and get punishment for transferring eliminated. But the opposite was true at October’s NCAA Division I Leadership Council meeting:
At that October meeting, the Leadership Council directed the subcommittee to focus on two concepts:
- To require all student-athletes in FBS football, basketball, baseball, and men’s ice hockey to sit out for one year following a transfer, eliminating the opportunity to earn immediately eligibility through the waiver process.
- To require graduate transfers in FBS football, basketball, baseball, and men’s ice hockey to sit out for one year following a transfer, potentially eliminating both the graduate transfer waiver and graduate transfer exception.
There’s no guarantee that any of this ends up being an NCAA rule. Remember, it was only ten months earlier that the opposite was discussed.
But it is interesting to note which direction we are trending here.
Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.
Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.
“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.
“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”
Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.
This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.
Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.
“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.
This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.
He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.
The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.