According to 247sports, the NCAA may vote to allow Division I transfers to play immediately for a new school – as opposed to sitting out a year – provided that they achieve a minimum GPA. The Transfer Working Group – A 19-person task force comprised of commissioners, athletic directors, coaches, and student-athletes – is looking into this potential rule change, which could go into effect as early as 2018-19.
Would this change be good for college athletics? Well, in some ways, maybe.
“If you look over time, what you learn from the data flat out is when transfers occur, the time it takes to graduate increases, generally by a year,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I don’t think that status quo is acceptable. I’m concerned, and I think it’s time that we look closely – and potentially change – some of the control points: the ability to control communication of young people, the ability to make determinations about that communication that then inhibit the provision of financial aid should somebody decide to transfer. I view those as key issues that need to change.
“I actually think the year residence is an important point of debate because if this is an educational endeavor, when you move around, you are pushing graduation further away,” Sankey continued. “Whether it’s re-acclimating to a school, a university, and a program, whether it’s changing a major or a loss of transfer credits – somehow that has to be part of the conversation. There are some important points to change, and I think there is an important point of debate globally across sports – and that’s the year-residence issue. What’s the philosophical and principal basis for having one, whether it’s in some sports or in all?”
Detractors will argue that this potential change could turn college athletics into AAU, with star players switching programs every year. Then again, coaches can do that, so why not players?
“We’re in a competitive endeavor, which I think is awesome,” Sankey said. “Now it’s in an educational setting, and there are points where people look and say, ‘Hey, I’ve been here two years. It doesn’t look like I’m going to play here. I want to go compete. I want to be on the floor, on the field, on the court, on the track.’ I think that’s okay, too. What you want is for people to make wise and informed decisions rather than a reactionary decision. I think spring football fosters that to a certain extent because you get that one more gauge and you get a chance to look.
“Now I’m not encouraging transfers,” Sankey continued. “I’m just talking in response to the question the grass isn’t always greener. I think we have a responsibility to help young people check themselves to make sure they’re making the right decision. But I don’t think we should control conversation. I think schools should control their conversations and not recruit other universities’ student-athletes and distract them from their endeavors. I think we shouldn’t control aid as part of that transfer piece. But that’s all part of this Working Group conversation. That’s why I think it’s healthy.”