College football’s transfer system is broken, and in need of reform.
Every season, it’s the same song and dance. A student-athlete wants to transfer to another school due to a leadership change and/or to get more playing time. The head coach then prevents that player from transferring to a number of different schools. While it’s understandable that a coach would block an opponent on their schedule, they prevent a player from transferring a school that’s not on the docket in some instances. This recently happened with Louisville defensive back Shaq Wiggins, who Bobby Petrino blocked from transferring to Mississippi State, where former Cardinal defensive coordinator Todd Grantham currently coaches.
To Petrino’s credit, he ultimately did the right thing, and removed Mississippi State from the list on Friday.
However, his initial reaction demonstrates the need for a change.
That’s not to say that college football needs to completely scrap its existing transfer rules. Sure, it seems unfair to place restrictions on players leaving, especially when a coach can leave for a better job at the drop of a hat. On the other hand, if transferring were too easy, players might be more inclined to leave rather than try to stick it out. That would rob the player of a much-needed life skill of facing a challenge and overcoming it.
With that said, there are some situations that we should not expect a player to endure. For example, a pro-style quarterback shouldn’t be forced to stay at a school if an option guru like Paul Johnson – who once said that he wanted add Georgia Southern to schedule so that he could “beat the Hell” out of a coach simply because he wanted to change the scheme — were to take over. Likewise, a student-athlete that signed on to play for a specific position coach or coordinator shouldn’t have to hang around when these coaches leave for a promotion or better opportunity. Nor should a bunch of upperclassmen have to stay when a new head coach decides to clean house and load the roster with “his” players.
That, my friends, is why college football should relax its transfer rules whenever the coaching staff changes. Specifically, it should allow a player to transfer without penalty if the head coach, coordinator, or position coach leaves for another gig. The rule would also prevent new head coaches from blocking a kid from transferring to another school, including one in the same conference.
Implementing these regulations would help end some of the nonsense that has transpired over the past few seasons. Under this system, Kirby Smart couldn’t block AJ Turman from following Mark Richt (the coach he committed to play) to Miami. It would also stop Petrino from preventing Wiggins from joining Grantham, who he followed to Louisville from Georgia.
Would abuses still occur under my proposal? Possibly. But, I would rather err on the side of giving players more freedom than the coaches, since the latter can move to another school very easily.