Michigan coach John Beilein talks about how challenging the first half of the 2016-17 season will be for the Wolverines. Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News
Last month, the NCAA announced it’s considering changes that could lead to a dramatic shift in the rules that govern the Division I transfer process in the future.
The most radical proposal being mulled is eliminating the one-year ineligibility period and granting immediate eligibility to transfers who meet specific academic standards.
During a press conference with reporters Wednesday, Michigan coach John Beilein joined a growing list of college coaches who voiced their opposition against immediate eligibility for transfers.
“I joked about it to one of my mid-major ex-(assistants), most of my guys are out there. I said, ‘This is perfect. We’ll just recruit off all your teams. Soon as you got a good team, player, we’ll go get them,’ ” Beilein said. “I mean how crazy is that? We wouldn’t have to go recruiting, we wouldn’t have to deal with the AAU guys. Just look at who is the (Mid-American Conference) All-Star team. Let’s get them to go to Michigan.
“It’s not going to work. I hope we don’t go in that direction. I really hope we don’t.”
Under the current rules, undergraduates who transfer must sit out one year before being eligible at their new school. Transfers are only immediately eligible if they receive a waiver or have graduated at one college and enroll in a graduate program at another.
For years, Division I coaches have decried the transfer epidemic in the sport. According to NCAA Division I transfers statistics, 546 college basketball players transferred to another institution for the 2016-17 season. And of the 374 Division I college basketball teams, 269 had at least one player transfer to a new program, while 81 teams had three or more transfer to another team.
If the proposed new transfer rule is put in place, Beilein said it would essentially lead to a poaching free-for-all.
“That’s not right to do the mid-majors, to the low majors or to each who would be flipping teams like crazy because if you’re going to do that, why can’t you do it in the Big Ten?” Beilein said. “Let’s just flip quarterbacks next year and Michigan State has got our quarterback and they got their quarterback and won’t that be fun, right?
“We can’t make a rule on everything. It can’t always be equal opportunity. There’s got to be some things otherwise we wouldn’t need referees at games, would we? Everybody would just do whatever they want to do and we’d try to figure out the score. Who won? Let’s not have a scoreboard. Let’s not have any rules.”
The counterargument is since student-athletes are unpaid amateur athletes, they should be allowed to transfer wherever they want without any restrictions like any other student, a notion Beilein disagrees with.
“And every kid should play in every game. Everybody should get a trophy after every single event every day and you get cupcakes whether you win or you lose,” Beilein said. “Come on. This is like life, this is life. All rules don’t apply. It has worked in some other sports, right?
“But for whatever reason I think it would really have a negative impact on the sports who do have the one-year transfer rule, one-year sit out rule.”
Among the other proposals intended to “improve the transfer environment for college athletes, coaches and teams in Division I,” per the NCAA release, include eliminating a school’s power to control a transfer’s list of possible destinations and increasing penalties for tampering with a potential transfer.
After gathering feedback, the Division I transfer working group met earlier this week and will finalize its proposals over the next few weeks. The deadline for concepts to be considered for the 2017-18 legislative cycle is Nov. 1.
For the proposals to be adopted, they would need to be approved by Division 1 Council and the earliest that would happen is April 2018.