The NCAA has, for basically its entire existence, done more to exploit college athletes than it’s done to help them. At this point, eventual payments to college players seems a matter of “when,” not “if”. But there are plenty of other ways the NCAA could adjust to allow college athletes the freedoms of regular college students. And according to a report, they’re strongly considering one of them.
Via 247Sports, the NCAA is considering a rule allowing transfers to play right away, with a GPA baseline being the only condition:
In a potentially paradigm-shifting proposal, the NCAA members may vote to allow all Division-I transfers to be eligible to play immediately. The only potential restrictions are that student-athletes would be asked to meet a minimum GPA, in order to transfer immediately, and that any additional transfer would require the student-athletes to sit out a full year. The proposal, which is being solicited among members for feedback, is gaining increased traction in recent weeks, a source confirms.
The transfer rules have always seemed unfairly penal towards athletes, especially considering coaches are free to come and go as they please (or as their administrators please.) Sometimes waivers are granted, but those decisions can seem arbitrary and unfair. Standardizing the rule would make a lot of sense, with very little downsides, and none for athletes themselves.
There are, of course, plenty of things to address if this change is implemented. Chiefly, what happens with the current ability schools have to dictate where players can transfer, which is perhaps more unfair than the one-year policy. Those things still have to be ironed out, but there’s not much time for that, as the rule could go into effect as soon as the 2018-2019 season:
The members of the Transfer Working Group will continue to seek feedback from fellow coaches, directors, commissioners and student-athletes in the days ahead, but it is becoming more likely that the proposal will be voted upon next April with the possibility of this going into effect as early as the 2018-19 calendar. The uniformity of applying the same rules across all sports would potentially streamline the transfer process.
This is a move that would undoubtedly change the face of college sports, and for purists it wouldn’t be for the better. But whatever negative impact it might have on the actual competition would seemingly be far outweighed by the positive impact it has for college players.
Hopefully it happens.