Let’s Not Get Too Excited About the NCAA’s New Transfer Rule
Many are needlessly praising the NCAA for replacing the “permission-to-contact” rule, which required college athletes to obtain their current coaches’ permission prior to contacting another institution, with the “notification-of-transfer” rule. Set to become effective this October, the “notification-of-transfer” rule has relinquished the unfettered power coaches had over the academic and athletic future of athletes seeking a transfer as athletes are no longer required to seek permission and are only required to notify their coach of their desire to transfer. Within two business days following notification, the athlete’s name will be entered into a national transfer database whereby any coach can contact the athlete.
While many are praising the NCAA for passing a rule that benefits the athletes, those accolades are unwarranted as it is unlikely that the rule will provide an equally significant benefit to all athletes because of its failure to address the issue of immediate eligibility upon transfer. Athletes in major revenue-producing sports still are unable to transfer with immediate eligibility and are required to sit out for a year upon transferring. This requirement is detrimental to the athletes’ athletic future. For the “notification-of-transfer” rule to truly be effective, it must be accompanied by an equitable rule allowing all college athletes to be eligible immediately upon transferring.
Some suggest that athletes with a certain grade point average be allowed to transfer with immediate eligibility. If such a rule is created, perhaps the rule could take the form of a balancing test that considers other factors, such as the athlete’s involvement in co-curricular activities in addition to grade point average. Implementing a rule that considers the athlete’s collegiate experience as a whole, instead of a one-size-fits-all grade point average requirement is a more equitable way to determine who should have immediate eligibility as each athlete has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. While the NCAA took a small step in the right direction with the “notification-of-transfer” rule, it does not warrant any praise because the rule falls short of truly ensuring equitable transferability for all athletes.