We’ve often decried the fact that, while coaches can leave a football program for another with very few ($$$) repercussions in the vast majority of cases, most players who decide to transfer must sit out a season.
Based on discussions currently being undertaken by the NCAA, that may change in the not-too-distant future.
According to Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News, allowing immediate eligibility for transfers in all sports is one of the concepts being discussed by an NCAA working group charged with reviewing ways to streamline current bylaws. The move would be part of the NCAA’s initiative to shrink its rulebook “down to something sensible.”
Currently, football players have to satisfy what’s technically called a “residency requirement” that by and large requires the student-athlete to sit out one season when transferring to one school to another. If the measure were to be adopted, and provided the move would not have a negative on the player’s graduation progress, the player would be eligible to play immediately.
Currently, only players who have either graduated or are granted hardship waivers due to family issues are eligible to play immediately upon transfer.
This concept is far from becoming a reality, however; the working group noted that current transfer limits could be included in any new bylaw. It’s safe assume that coaches, who are largely as a group already bucking against the trend toward multi-year scholarships, would not be in favor of allowing it to become easier for a player to leave his program, especially if one-year renewable scholarships go the way of leather helmets and goalposts on the goal line.
If eliminating the residency requirement is in play, one stipulation needs to be in play as well: a player can transfer once and play immediately. Anything beyond the initial transfer — with the exception perhaps of family issues and the need to get closer to home — the player should be required to sit out a year.
In addition to the transfer issue, the NCAA is looking to cut the fat off the bulky bylaws pertaining to recruiting. The development in that arena that would most likely garner the most attention would be allowing coaches to address unsigned potential recruits. Current bylaws state that schools are not permitted to specifically mention a player by name until a Letter of Intent is signed.
Banned so as not to give a school a perceived edge in landing a recruit, the News writes that “[t]he working group said technology and social media make such comments difficult to monitor and enforce, and it’s ‘arguable’ whether the publicity influences a recruit’s college decision.” One idea being tossed around is a stipulation that would only allow coaches to comment publicly on a recruit only when he verbally commits to a program.
Other recruiting-related ideas under discussion include no annual certification on recruiting rules for coaching staffs; giving schools more freedom on what takes place during official visits while allowing earlier contact with potential recruits (June 15 following a player’s sophomore year in high school); and putting an end to the “Tiger Prowl” rule that restricts the number of off-campus recruiters for the perceived recruiting benefit.