The NCAA is full of silly rules, and Texas Tech is the latest to put one of them on display. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has had a transfer to Oklahoma blocked by Texas Tech after a small committee reviewed an appeal to allow him to be eligible to play right away in 2014.
Typical NCAA transfer rules require a player to sit out a season at their new school before being allowed to play in a game. In essence, a player loses a year of eligibility unless they can spare a redshirt year. Under certain circumstances the NCAA can allow for exceptions to be made through an appeal process, but schools also can make up and enforce their own rules in the process. Such is the case at Texas Tech, where any player who transfers to a conference opponent is required to sit out a year and lose a year of eligibility. Mayfield filed an appeal hoping for the best in order to move to Oklahoma, but did not get the response he had wanted.
Mayfield is not a scholarship player, which made him a slightly different case than usual for transfer players. Mayfield is a walk-on player who won the starting job at the start of the season with injuries at the position leaving head coach Kliff Kingsbury almost no other option. Even if he does wind up at Oklahoma, he will be a back-up among back-ups to Trevor Knight. Still, it is not right for Texas Tech to get to make the decision for him.
College football programs should not have a say in where a student athlete plays, or when they may play at the new school. It makes no sense and it is beyond time for the rule to be re-evaluated. One of the intentions of the transfer rule is intended to keep players from jumping from school to school on a yearly basis, and some filler about the importance of stability for a student athlete will probably be the reason why. But nobody is fooled by this in a sport that sees up to 20 coaching changes per year around the country, not even including assistant coaching changes.
Does a physics student have to sit out a year from classes when they decide to switch schools? No. Does a marching band member have to sit out a season when switching to a school with a bigger or better band? Nope.
So why must a football player be held to that rule and process? And more importantly, why does the school that player is moving on from get to determine where and when they can play at the new school?
Previous reports have suggested Mayfield has other options potentially available to him, including East Carolina and Houston according to ESPN.com.