Rule change indicates a game of music presidents in college basketball

When Tyson Walker, a 6-foot point guard from Westbury, NY, transferred from Northeast State to Michigan State this month, he had a goal.

After a breakout season in which he averaged 18.8 points per game and was named a finalist for the Louis Henson Award, the top male basketball player from a mid-major conference, Walker played for a team Were prepared for, in which a shot was made. The final four in New Orleans next year. He made his announcement in late March in a Twitter post portraying him in a Michigan State uniform.

“My whole decision was based on trying to play at the highest level,” Walker said.

Walker is among a large group of Division I men’s and women’s basketball players who would benefit from a new rule that allows them to jump into new schools and become eligible to play immediately. The rule, which allows just one unrestricted transfer per athlete, was temporarily approved by the NCAA panel on Wednesday, said a person close to the talks who is not authorized to speak publicly about the matter Was. Final approval is expected this month.

The rule change, which is expected to be permanent, has replaced college basketball in the off-season, similar to NBA free agency, which has more than 1,400 men – about 30 percent of players in all 357 Division I men’s programs -. already. NCAA Transfer Portal. Three years ago, only 882 male Division I basketball players entered the portal. On the women’s side, the portal has about 1,000 players – or about 18 percent of all Division I players.

Typically, transfers would have to sit out for the 2021-22 season due to NCAA rules Apply to Football, baseball, men’s and women’s basketball and men’s ice hockey. But the NCAA’s Division I Council approved a proposal to approve all sports instant transfers for the first time in the eligibility without any restrictions. The change was expected to take place over time by contributing an extraordinary number of players to the portal.

The number may be higher than normal due to living due to coronovirus-related disruptions: any fourth-year senior who wishes to return to school and compete for an additional year will be given the opportunity to do so. ‘T Guarantee a scholarship will be available. Generally, a player who graduates from one institution is often eligible to play at another as a graduate transfer.

Jason Setchen, a Miami lawyer who is an advocate for student-athletes, said he believed the transfer regime was much needed.

“One piece that was missing was the immediate eligibility component because you can enter the portal and transfer to a school where you asked for a better opportunity, but you still had to sit a year, until you graduated. Did, “Setchen said in a phone interview. “So it was actually about half where it was needed to give the children a real opportunity to be able to improve their condition immediately.”

Critics of the transfer-rule exception say that it has already transformed college basketball into the “Wild West”, where any unhappy player would simply shift his position rather than trying to work with his coaches.

a number of Men’s program According to the website, portals such as St. John’s, Iowa State and UNLV have half a dozen or more players Oral. After reaching the second round of the men’s NCAA tournament, Florida has already made four transfers to replace the previously lost four. In Memphis, which won the National Invitational tournament under coach Penny Hardaway, the three players announced their transfer on March 31. On the women’s side, Syracuse Portal has 11 players; Texas Tech has 10.

Some players are giving new meaning to the term “traveling well”. DePaul guard Charlie Moore entered the portal, and his next college will be his fourth, including previous stops in California and Kansas. Because he is not a first-time transfer, he will need a waiver at his new college, but it is a formality.

ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Witley tweeted, “This is going to destroy our great game by moving all over the place.” He argued that players should not be allowed to transfer without sitting outside for a year, until the coach departs.

In a letter to the board of the NCAA’s transfer working group, Matt Painter, Purdue men’s coach and National Association of Basketball Coaches, voiced opposition to the one-time transfer waiver. Painter said it would enter the era of “free agency” and make life more complicated for both high school and college student-athletes.

Painter wrote in his letter, “Every classification of student-athletes – both current and future – will experience uncertainty.” “Annual roster turnover will make college choices more difficult for high school prospects, and current student-athletes considering transfers will have less certainty to decide.

“As a coach, the ability to teach and lead a program effectively will be more difficult. And perhaps most importantly, the remaining student-athletes will be left in a volatile situation in the unlikely event of a mass exodus of teammates in a single season. “

Think of the situation as a giant game of musical chairs, with players looking for a new opportunity before the music stops. Even the setchain believes that the portal will not have enough space for each player to find a good fit.

Sekachen said NCAA rules prohibit other athletes from liaising with other colleges until their current schools can cancel their scholarship until they enter the transfer portal.

“So what happens are these kids going into the portal thinking that they have all kinds of opportunities, and then suddenly they don’t have any,” he said. “And then some have to be left at a random school just to play, and now they get stuck in what might be a worse situation than the one they left.”

Supporters of the one-time transfer exception have long said that it is unfair to force players to sit out for a year, while TJ Ottjelber (who left UNLV for Iowa State), Shaka Smart (who from Texas Transferred to Marquette) and Chris Byrd (who left Texas Tech for in-conference rival Texas) could change jobs and work immediately at their new colleges.

“I also think it brings some fairness to the table because everyone’s situation is different,” said Chris Lykes, a guard who announced his transfer from Miami to Arkansas last week. “I think there should be an opportunity for the players if they feel that this is the best move of their career.”

MaCio Teague, one of two transfer starters on Baylor’s national championship team and one of the men’s Final Four teams, left North Carolina Asheville after a coaching change and had to sit out a season. They did not think it was appropriate.

“My coaching staff quit and I had no hard feelings for them,” Teagate Told Jeff Goodman of the stadium in an interview. “He left and I decided to play. And he immediately coached and I felt that I should play.

Villanova coach Jay Wright, whose team won the 2018 championship by relying on Eric Paschell, a transfer from Fordham who is now with the Golden State Warriors, said he did not think the one-time transfer exception to college basketball was good. But he believed that this would benefit the players.

“It’s a bit fishy, ​​but I think college basketball would be fine,” Wright said. “But I definitely think it’s going to give student-athletes a lot more options and a lot more voice in their careers.”

Diamond Johnson, rated by some analysts as the No. 1 transfer in women’s college basketball, committed to North Carolina State on Friday after leaving Rutgers. A 5-foot-5 guard, Johnson averaged 17.6 points and 4.2 rebounds for the Scarlet Knights last season after arriving as the sixth-ranked recruit in the country.

She said that she made the transfer with the hope that she would be able to play immediately, and that she felt she deserved that opportunity.

“I really don’t see any reason why we should sit outside all year,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “I think it should be up to the players whether they want to play or not.”

The new transfer rule has a trickle-down effect on high school players.

Adam Berkowitz oversees the College-Bound Program in New York, a nonprofit, sports-based youth development organization in New York. He said that he has several unsigned high school seniors he was trying to place with colleges this spring. He said that of the 35 colleges he contacted, 28 focused on building through transfer portals rather than recruiting high school seniors.

“It’s unprecedented,” Berkowitz said.

Seton Hall women’s coach Tony Boozella said he would have four scholarships for next season.

He said, “I’m not using them on four freshmen.”

Alan blinder Contributed to reporting.

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