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NCAA council aims to change immediate eligibility waiver policy

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An issue that has popped up in recent years has been that of the graduate transfer, with athletes who have completed their undergraduate coursework at one school using their final year of eligibility at another institution while taking graduate courses. For those in favor of the rule that allows those athletes to play immediately, the positive is that the person is being rewarded for taking care of business in the classroom.

However detractors have cited the rule as one reason why there have been so many transfers, equating the current climate to that of free agency in professional sports. And with that in mind, the NCAA Division I Leadership Council has recommended changes to the current transfer system that would essentially do away with immediate eligibility waivers.

That means athletes would be able to transfer, but they would have to sit out a season regardless of the circumstances. And for those looking to use their fifth year (athletes get five years to complete four years of eligibility) at another school, they’d end up receiving a sixth year of eligibility.

“We hope this change will encourage student-athletes who must transfer based on hardships to focus on the circumstances prompting the transfer during their first year and adjust to their new school, while giving them a season back to complete their eligibility,” said Amy Huchthausen, commissioner of the America East Conference and chair of the Leadership Council subcommittee that examined the transfer issue.

For those who aren’t thrilled with the current climate regarding transfers, the word “epidemic” has been tossed around quite often. But has it really been that bad? One-third of college students in general, according to a study done by The Chronicle of Higher Education in 2012, transferred before completing their undergraduate coursework.

There are a variety of reasons why students, whether they’re athletes or not, make the decision to transfer. And to use the word “epidemic” in regards to just one category of students is a bit unfair.

The transfer issue, according to some within collegiate athletics, is something that needs to be addressed. This measure is an attempt to do so. The question now is whether or not the membership goes along with this move, thus eliminating the immediate eligibility waiver.

Texas lands commitment from top 100 center

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James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.

Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.

“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”

He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.

Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.

Memphis guard could miss season with shoulder injury

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Memphis just cannot catch a break.


It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.

Today, reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.

This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.

That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.