The Big 12 Conference has proposed sweeping changes to N.C.A.A. transfer rules, that would span all sports, teams and conferences within D-1. The proposal gives student-athletes the ability to change schools, should the team’s head coach be fired or leave for another job, with just a single restriction; players will not be able to follow the coach to his new destination. While in all other scenarios (except players on teams facing a post-season ban) transfers would still be required to incur a “year in residence”, they’ll no longer face transfer restrictions (i.e. to teams scheduled to face the program in coming seasons) or require release from their existing program to apply for financial aid at the transfer school. Iowa State A.D. summed up the proposal by saying “for the first time ever in college athletics, the student-athlete is empowered.”
Howie Long-Short: The proposal, which is not the final proposal, raises a variety of concerns that need to be addressed. With 27 schools now generating more than $100 million/year in net revenue, the addition of a few fully-funded scholarships to offset potential transfers seems inconsequential. The real financial concerns appear to be tied to teams that miss the post-season, either because of a ban (APR scores are impacted by transfers) or mass transfers drastically reducing the quality of the roster; as conferences are rewarded based on the success of their members. The N.C.A.A. has asked the D1 Transfer Working Group to issue a proposal for legislation in June; changes would go into effect for either the ’18 or ’19 season.
Fan Marino: The logic behind allowing a player who experienced coaching turnover to immediately transfer without sitting out a season, is to protect student-athletes from the post-season bans tied to coaching indiscretions. With the Penn State football program facing a 4-year bowl ban related to the Jerry Sandusky saga, the N.C.A.A. offered guys on the 2012 team a similar opportunity. It didn’t lead to a mass exodus, but 9 players did leave including star Silas Redd (USC). It must be noted that while some received increased playing time, none achieved overwhelming success at their final collegiate destination.