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Changes to transfer legislation can potentially change college basketball landscape

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The transfer process for Division I student-athletes is one of the most hotly-contested debates in college sports. Every time there’s a coach or school that tries to impede a player’s ability to transfer to the school of his or her choice, there’s a public outcry. It used to be only the most draconian of restrictions drew public ire, but these days, that bar seems to be lowering.

There are certainly exceptions, but the college sports world – especially those without a stake in the system itself –  seems to be moving toward more player freedom.

Now, the system itself may be moving further in that direction quicker than seemed possible.

There is a proposal “being solicited among (NCAA) members for feedback” that would allow players to transfer and play immediately once in their career, according to a report from 247 Sports’ Andrew Slater.

Players looking to transfer would need to meet a minimum GPA in order to qualify for immediate eligibility and any subsequent transfers would require a sit-out year, according to the report.

It’s obvious that should this proposal become rule, it would introduce potential chaos into a college basketball ecosystem that already is much maligned to what many call a “transfer culture.” It’s often derisively called “free agency,” but that could truly turn out to be reality in this scenario.

It’s also probably the fairest proposal out there short of cutting players in on the revenue sports like hoops and football generate.

The arguments for (mostly) unfettered player movement haven’t changed over the years. Coaches can change jobs with impunity and leave players behind with little recourse that doesn’t include sitting out. There’s inequity built into the amateur model that makes transfer restrictions in theory and practice especially harsh and punitive relative to the action.

Yes, if these rules are changed to allow players to move without penalty, things will get wild. They’ll get difficult. It will be chaotic

Those are all arguments against instituting such a free-for-all, but where that argument loses the thread, at least to me, is that they’ll be wild, difficult and chaotic for the people profiting from the system. This undoubtedly will cause major headaches for head coaches, assistant coaches, support staff and athletic departments. Those people, though, are already getting paid. And the people it will cause the most pain for – head coaches and athletic directors – are being compensated the most handsomely. Those salaries right now are buoyed by the fact the labor – players – aren’t paid. Having to juggle complex issues with a lot of moving parts and players with increased leverage doesn’t seem to be an out of line ask for coaches making millions of dollars. Or the ones “settling” for hundreds of thousands at the mid- and low-major level.

There’s no doubt that enacting a rule like this will lead to unintended consequences. All decisions do. There will be more tampering and icky ethical issues that come from this, in all likelihood. But, again, those participating in such behavior are likely to be those who are profiting from basketball and the players who play it. Restricting players’ options to rein in the behavior of coaches and recruiters is bad policy. If coaches don’t like whatever seedy stuff happens in their profession because of this rule, they could always blow the whistle.

Should this rule ever be enacted, it will be world-changing for college basketball. It’ll probably (almost certainly) be a boon for the schools up the food chain who can attract better players looking for better situations. Only in college sports would that type of upward mobility be derided rather than celebrated. And if such a change makes things tougher for the powers that be, that, as they say, is what the money is for.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

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After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

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Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.