Let Them Transfer, But Wait

Courtesy+of+NCAA
Courtesy of NCAA

Courtesy of NCAA

Courtesy of NCAA

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As the college basketball season rolls around, it is essential to understand the dynamics of players transferring. In an effort to keep college sports competitive, the NCAA attempts to keep student-athlete transfers to a minimum. In general, undergraduate student-athletes who transfer schools must sit out a year before playing. Before they transfer, they must receive permission from their current school to transfer and permission of the destination school to matriculate. As they are, transfer rules do not act in the player’s’ best interests. The current NCAA transferring rules fail to achieve what they are set up for and are overdue for reform.

The NCAA transfer rules, in principle at least, attempt to level the playing field by making it more difficult for student-athletes to transfer between colleges. Transfer rules, namely those that dictate ineligibility for competition for an entire year, force student athletes to think twice about transferring and force them to focus on academics during the period of ineligibility. In college men’s basketball, this happens a lot, to where 40 percent of all men’s basketball players who enter Division One directly after high school leave their initial school by the end of their sophomore year. As they are, transfer rules are ineffective in leveling the playing field. Powerhouses naturally attract good players from schools in the lower tiers of the sport. Many players are more than happy to sit out a year to be able to play for a perennial power, and there is no way to deter them from transferring.

Generally, the men’s basketball players that leave do so because of athletic reasons, be it not getting enough playing time, not gelling with their coach, or somewhere in between. When student-athletes transfer, due to poor academic planning, they lose credits. To no surprise, their graduation rates are also lower than those of non-transfers. This is a sign that their initial school did not place enough emphasis on the transfer students’ academic success, essentially leaving them up a creek without a paddle. Schools must provide more resources to their athletes, especially those in major sports because more often than not, college athletes do not become professional athletes.

Colleges have to understand that they are primarily focused on academics and not athletics. On the other hand, student-athletes have to understand that they probably won’t become professional athletes, and that if they do, their careers are probably going to be short. So they need an education so as to better their lives. To maintain their roles as educators, colleges with Division One programs should allocate money away from their athletics budgets, which promote student-athletes’ athletic success, and place that money into programs that would promote student-athletes’ academic success. It is now up to the NCAA to enforce this policy to improve the lives of their athletes down the road.

 

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