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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.

Trae Jefferson to transfer out of Texas Southern

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Texas Southern guard and NCAA tournament darling Trae Jefferson announced on Saturday that he’s leaving the school.

The 5-foot-7 Jefferson was sensational at times during his sophomore season with the Tigers as he put up 23.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, helping lead Texas Southern to a victory in the 2018 NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton over North Carolina Central. One of the most entertaining talents in college basketball, Jefferson is leaving Texas Southern in-part because former head coach Mike Davis took the job at Detroit this offseason.

While Detroit is going to be the favorite to land Jefferson, because of his connection to Davis, it’ll be interesting to see what his transfer market looks like. Jefferson also made it clear on his Twitter page that he would like to be closer to his hometown of Milwaukee so that he can be closer to his ailing grandfather.

Given NCAA transfer rules, Jefferson would likely have to sit out next season before getting two more years of eligibility. But he could be applying for a waiver if he’s trying to be closer to home to deal with his family situation.

Nevada’s Josh Hall transfers to Missouri State

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Nevada lost a talented player from last season’s team as rising junior Josh Hall opted to transfer to Missouri State on Friday night.

The 6-foot-7 Hall is a former top-150 recruit who played a key part in the Wolf Pack’s postseason run as he elevated his play to average 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Hall also made the game-winning bucket to lift Nevada past No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round.

Although Hall picked up his play late in the year, he was coming off the bench most of his sophomore campaign as he averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season.

Since Nevada took in some talented transfers, while players like Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins opted not to turn pro, it left head coach Eric Musselman with too many scholarship players for the 2018-19 season. It looks like some of those issues are now going away as Hall is leaving for Missouri State and graduate transfer guard Ehab Amin opted to decommit from the school.

Nevada is expected to be a preseason top-10 team next season with all of the talent they have returning to the roster, along with the addition of some new pieces like McDonald’s All-American big man Jordan Brown.

Hall will likely have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules as he still has two years of eligibility remaining.

Chris Webber accepts Jim Harbaugh’s invitation to be honorary Michigan football captain


The frosty relationship between Chris Webber and the University of Michigan could be thawing — thanks to an invitation from football head coach Jim Harbaugh.

On Friday, Harbaugh called in to WTKA’s “The M Zone” as show host Jamie Morris had Webber on the show. Harbaugh offered Webber the opportunity to be an honorary captain for the Michigan football team next season, to which Webber replied that he would love the opportunity.

Webber, a former member of the “Fab Five” who helped the Wolverines to two consecutive NCAA tournament title-game appearances in 1992 and 1993, has not associated directly with the school, or with other members of the Fab Five, for many years.

The NCAA mandated that Webber and Michigan not associate with one another for 10 years after the Ed Martin booster scandal. Webber has always been reluctant to participate in anything Michigan or Fab Five related. When the famous Fab Five documentary was made a few years ago, Webber was the only member of the quintet not to participate in the making of the film. Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson all have a solid relationship with the University of Michigan at this point.

Webber later criticized the film during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, as King and Rose fired back with responses to reignite the feud. In the past, Rose has also been vocal in his belief that Webber should apologize for what happened at Michigan, as the group is hoping to move forward.

Although Webber still isn’t mending fences with the other Fab Five members, or the basketball program, returning to Michigan in some kind of official capacity is a big deal considering his past with the school.

Harbaugh and Webber haven’t decided on a game for next season yet as that will be something to watch for over the next several months.

Akoy Agau returning to Louisville as graduate transfer

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Louisville received a boost to its frontcourt rotation on Friday as former big man Akoy Agau will return to the Cardinals as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau originally committed and enrolled at Louisville for a season and a half to begin his college hoops career before transferring to Georgetown. After leaving the Hoyas to play at SMU last season, Agau received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA after battling injury for much of his career.

Agau gives Louisville an experienced forward who should earn some solid minutes next season. With the Mustangs during the 2017-18 season, Agau averaged 5.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 16.1 minutes per contest.

While this isn’t the biggest splash for the Cardinals, they have plenty of scholarships to use for next season as new head coach Chris Mack tries to find a stable rotation. Getting a graduate transfer like Agau, who should be familiar with the school and the conference at the very least, is a nice step for a one-year placeholder.

NCAA President Mark Emmert got a $500,000 raise in 2016

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NCAA president Mark Emmert, the man in charge of a non-profit association that doesn’t have enough money to pay its laborers, received a $500,000 raise for the 2016 calendar year, bringing his total income to more than $2.4 million, according to an NCAA tax return that was obtained by USA Today.

That number actually pales in comparison to the salaries that are received by the commissioners of the Power 5 conferences.

But there’s not enough money to pay the players.


Everyone is broke.

Carry on with your day, and pray for the well-being of NCAA administrators like Mark Emmert, whose salary is in no way whatsoever inflated by amateurism, which allows the schools and the NCAA to bank all of the advertising revenue that college basketball and football brings in and bars the players themselves from accessing that money.