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.
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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.
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.