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Could NCAA eliminate transfer redshirts? What happens to college sports if they do?


The NCAA is currently facing a lawsuit from a pair of ex-college football players who are, more or less, suing the association to eliminate the requirement for college athletes to sit out for a year should they decide to transfer.

In other words, should Steve Berman, the lead attorney for the two former football players, win the case that he’s brought to court, any transfer in any sport would be immediately eligible. According to ESPN, the NCAA has moved to dismiss the case.

If the case isn’t dismissed, and Berman eventually wins in federal court, the ramifications would be … well, they would certainly be interesting.

     RELATED: There is no transfer epidemic

It’s something that a lot of people — myself included — have spent a lot of words and energy arguing for. It’s something that I believe is the right thing to have in place since we’re talking about unpaid, amateur student-athletes. A tuba player doesn’t have to sit out from the band if he wants to leave LSU and go to Alabama. An engineering student doesn’t have to taken history classes if he decides to leave Bucknell and head to Villanova. If the NCAA wants to ensure that college athletes have a real college experience, then they should be allowed to leave whenever and enroll wherever their grades allow them to enroll.

You’ll never convince me otherwise.

And I’m well aware of what this would mean for college athletics.

It would be a free-for-all, especially if students are allowed to transfer and be eligible immediately after the first semester.

In hoops, the tampering would be out of control, even more than it is now. The first two weeks of December would turn into a trading deadline. Don’t have enough interior depth? Go find a couple 7-footers. Need to bolster your perimeter shooting? There are plenty of guys at lower levels that can knock down jump shots. Need some insight into what Kentucky is doing offensively? Offer one of their walk-ons a scholarship.

That transfer window would not only help to serve the power conference teams in filling holes, but it would bring the kind of intrigue and speculation to college hoops that we never see before the end of conference season.

RELATED: Transfers expose the worst of the coaching community

Or what about this idea (which was tweeted to me by a reader, and which I love): High-major teams form an alliance with a mid-major program to work as something of a minor league team. Let’s say Coach K gets Jon Scheyer hired as the head coach at UNC-Greensboro. Scheyer would run the same offense and the same defense as Duke, so that the two programs would be able to make the necessary transfers after the fall semester. Duke has a freshman that can’t get any burn? Send him to UNCG to play 30 minutes a night. UNCG has a senior wing that defends and is shooting 40 percent from three? Send him up to Durham to play a role for the Blue Devils.

It would be even crazier in football.

Let’s say, for example, that LSU somehow plays their way into the College Football Playoff despite the fact that their quarterback play would be more effective if I was running the show. How much do you think someone like Josh Rosen would be offered to transfer to LSU for the spring semester before transferring back to UCLA next fall?

It would be insane.

The distrust among the coaching community regarding tampering would reach a fever pitch, if it hasn’t already.

Would it change the way that college athletics looks and feels?


But as long as the NCAA tournament always has full bracket and as long as it stays in March, people are always going to be watching.

This case will certainly be something to keep an eye on.

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.