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Michael CarvellMichael Carvell

Opinion: Blame the NCAA for unfair restrictions on transfers

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Blame the NCAA for allowing the unfair restrictions that member institutions are allowed to put on transfer players.

This is a dark side and ugly side of college athletics – and one that gets mostly overlooked by the media and public.

Every spring, there are a handful of football or basketball players who want to transfer to another FBS institution for various reasons, including coaching changes or simply being unhappy.

Every spring, most of these kids get hosed because their former schools have control over their future destinations.

If you’re a college coach and you truly want what’s best for your player, why would you put any transfer restriction on a player if things didn’t work out? And this point almost always gets missed: The players are already penalized if they transfer to another FBS school by having to sit out one season of competition. Why add to the misery with restrictions?

It’s totally unfair to the players: Kids get transfer restrictions, while millionaire coaches change jobs freely.

This is one reason why NCAA athletes want a union, and I don’t blame them.

This issue was recently brought into the local spotlight when Georgia Tech’s best basketball player, Robert Carter, surprisingly announced that he was transferring from the Yellow Jackets.

You know the rest of the story: UGA requested permission to try to recruit Carter, and it was denied by Georgia Tech.

UGA athletics director Greg McGarity told the AJC’s Chip Towers he was “very disappointed,” pointing out that the Bulldogs don’t put any restrictions on outgoing transfers and claiming they have the player’s best interests at heart (while also citing the case of a former UGA signee who switched to Georgia Tech with restrictions lifted).

Meanwhile, Georgia Tech athletics director Mike Bobinski defended his stance of placing restrictions on Carter from transferring to its main rival (UGA) and other ACC schools. Bobinski told the AJC’s Ken Sugiura, “that’s a pretty standard industry-wide practice.”

The Georgia Tech AD is exactly right.

And the standard industry-wide practice, permitted by the NCAA, is wrong.

It’s a common practice that is vindictive, unjustified, spiteful, hypocritical, and flat-out mean. And it gets mostly overlooked year after year after year.

This issue is much bigger than some gentleman-like war of words between rival athletic directors (And Robert Carter is a moot point because he later said he wasn’t interested in transferring to UGA).

A much better example of ridiculous restrictions is the freshman basketball player from Kansas State who listed 94 schools she was interested in transferring to – and Kansas State denied all 94.

Why do outrageous things like this happen? Because the colleges are allowed to behave like this with restrictions. The coaches use them mostly for selfish and self-serving reasons, such as a form of punishment against players who they feel like “betrayed” the program by leaving. Or the coach simply fears looking bad if a former player comes back with another team and beats him.

But let’s not forget that the same coach could betray his program by taking a job at a rival school – with no restrictions. And the coach could also come back and make his former school look bad by beating it, too.

It’s no surprise that this issue is a one-way street on the NCAA’s road map.

Again, the main question is this: If you’re a college coach and truly want what’s best for your player, why use any restrictions?

Can anybody give me one good reason? Please post below.

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