College basketball’s free agency period could be coming to an end.
According to a report from Andy Katz of ESPN.com, the National Association of Basketball Coaches board of directors met last week, and among the rule changes that were discussed were transfers that are allowed to become eligible immediately without having to sit out a season.
There was just a single dissenting vote in the room.
The way the current system is structured, there are two ways that a transfer can gain immediate eligibility: A) If the player graduates from school in less than four years and still has a season of eligibility remaining, he is either eligible for the graduate transfer exception or can apply for the graduate transfer waiver, which will grant him immediate eligibility; or B) If the player is transferring within 100 miles of an ill relative he can receive a waiver to play immediately.
(There are a couple of other situations that could gain a transfer immediate eligibility — Trey Zeigler was allowed to play at Pittsburgh immediately after transferring out of the school where his father was fired, and there is some scuttlebutt that the players that have left Rutgers this spring will be able to play immediately — but that is on a case-by-case basis.)
We’ve seen an uptick in transfers in recent years, particularly those of big name players. Just in the last two days, Evan Gordon left Arizona State (his second school) to transfer closer to home; Deandre Kane left Marshall and transferred to Pitt; and Mike Moser announced that he would be transferring to Oregon, which will be the third team that he plays for. All three of those guys will be eligible to play immediately. That says nothing of Trae Golden, who left Tennessee and may be eligible immediately, or Trey Zeigler, who transferred out of Pitt and to TCU after being declared immediately eligible to play at Pitt last season after transferring out of Central Michigan.
I can understand why the coaches will be frustrated by all of these transfers, especially when many of them spring up after teams illegally tamper with players already at a school. The rules are well-intentioned, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are being taken advantage of.
“The rule in most cases is not being used as intended and is clearly adding to the widespread free agency in college basketball,” Arizona State coach Herb Sendek told ESPN.com.
I don’t necessarily believe that it’s the right move to get rid of them, however. I honestly don’t think that there should be any restrictions on the players transferring out of one school and into another, unless these coaches also have no problem sitting out one season every time they transfer … err, change jobs. And you never know, maybe having some incentive to actually treat your players like human beings will help us avoid situations like this. And this.
But, hey, I’m not the one that makes the rules.
These coaches are.
And they don’t necessarily have their player’s best interest in mind.
Ask the NBA Draft deadline.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.