The Big Ten proposed an NCAA rule change last year that would have resulted to what amounts to free agency in college football.
That’s the takeaway from a surprising report from CBS Sports. Apparently the conference’s athletic directors submitted a piece of legislation that previously wasn’t published alongside many other proposals, the contents of which had a chance to significantly alter the current landscape:
The Big Ten quietly proposed legislation last year that would allow players in every sport to transfer once in their careers without sitting out a year in residence at their new institution. If adopted, the legislation would mark one of the biggest competitive changes in the history of college sports.
NCAA leadership hit the pause on any such transfer legislation shortly after the Big Ten submitted their idea ending a chance that it would have made its way to a vote but the mere thought that the league was getting behind the change is quite notable.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel told CBS Sports. “I don’t know who’s going to freak out and who’s not going to freak out. That doesn’t come into my thinking about it.”
The explosion in players transferring in football can largely be traced to the grad transfer rule from, incredibly enough, some 15 years ago and the recent creation of the NCAA Transfer Portal. Both have significantly resulted in a jump in players going from school to school and caused numerous coaches to lament the current climate.
The Big Ten proposal would have turned even that up a few notches and likely resulted in plenty of debate over its merits. An NCAA Transfer Working Group is currently debating the issue but it remains to be seen if they advance anything that was as wide open as what the Power Five league wanted to do.
One thing is for certain though, the endless debate about what the best way to handle transfers will not be ending anytime soon.