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OSU’s Gundy Takes Heat Over Transfer Limits; Time To Take The Power Out Of Coaches’ Hands

gfx - honest opinionIt seems Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is getting battered from all sides these days.  His decision to block quarterback Wes Lunt from transferring to Southern Miss, any SEC schools, any Pac-12 schools, or to future opponent Central Michigan is being pointed to as further proof of college football’s overall hypocrisy. 

From The Oklahoman newspaper: “The guy who flirted with job openings at Tennessee and Arkansas last December now won’t allow his former quarterback, Wes Lunt, to accept an immediate scholarship to certain schools.  Including, irony of ironies, Tennessee.”

Even those trying to imagine why Gundy might have dropped the hammer on Lunt — example: if Lunt told Gundy he wanted to transfer closer to his Ilinois home then he shouldn’t be looking at SEC or Pac-12 schools anyway — admit that from a PR sense “the negatives outweigh the positives” for Oklahoma State’s coach.

Gundy isn’t doing anything new.  Coaches have always had the power to limit departing players’ transfer options.  Some use that power heavy-handedly — ex-Tennessee coach Derek Dooley once forced a player to transfer at least eight hours away from Knoxville and his home — while others refuse to stand in their players’ way.  Georgia’s Mark Richt is one coach who feels “life is too short” to block kids’ paths.

 

“I want every young man to have a successful time in his four- or five-year wind to be able to go to college.  So I don’t want to impede a guy from realizing his goals and his dreams, wherever it is.”

 

That’s not just talk from Richt.  Georgia’s coach is so player-first that he’s at times gotten involved and tried to help departing players find landing spots in the SEC… even though it could (but hasn’t) come back to bite his team in the rear.

Still, it’s time for the NCAA to take coaches out of the mix when it comes to student-athletes’ transfer rights.  If Mark Emmert is looking to kickstart his reform movement, transfer policies might be the perfect point to begin.  Again.

Obviously, not everyone can be allowed to transfer without restrictions.  While it might not be fair that players are bound to a school more than their coaches are, it is a necessity.  If there were no transfer limitations whatsoever, a coach’s departure could lead to an entire roster’s departure from a program.  On the surface that might look good for the players, but it would certainly be bad for any schools hit with such mass defections.  And such a massive shift in the college sports landscape could certainly lead to a decline in popularity and in finances which could in turn hurt athletes in the end.

That said, the restrictions placed upon a player’s options could be made uniform with a single new NCAA rule stating the following:

 

*  A player seeking a transfer must be in good academic standing at his current school at the time of his departure.

*  A player cannot transfer to a school within his current school’s conference or to a school on his current school’s schedule (unless his current coach chooses to wave those limitations in some way).

*  A coach who believes his player has been contacted, recruited or in any way tampered with by another school can make that case to the NCAA.  If there is the slightest hint of tampering, the coach would be able to implement greater restrictions on the player’s transfer options.

*  A coach taking over a new program would be able to implement his own restrictions on all of his players’ transfer options for one calendar year.

 

A perfect answer?  No.  But there is no perfect solution to this problem.  The goal, then, should be to find a better solution than the one currently in place.  Creating a uniform transfer policy is a start.

Athletes would have to take care of their schoolwork.  They would also know their transfer options from get-go.

Schools wouldn’t have to worry about facing ex-players on opposing rosters during regular-season games.  They also would not have to worry about dozens of players transferring away every time a coaching change is made.

Coaches wouldn’t have to worry about negative PR fallout over their own personal transfer policies.  And, if the rule were written and enforced properly, coaches would not have to worry about rival coaches tampering with their players.

It’s time for the NCAA to adopt a one-size-fits-all transfer policy that prevents coaches from implementing their own more punitive policies.  Unless, of course, the NCAA likes to keep reading stories about the hypocrisy that exists within its system.

 


10 comments
sojourner
sojourner

i was a fervent admirer of phil fulmer, but i remember that one year he had a starting center come to him and ask to transfer to school closer to his home and family in texas.  from all the reports i read, it was a pure case of chronic homesickness.  phil did everything he could to punish the guy.  at the time it was going on, i couldn't help but wonder how other texas athletes (where phil did a lot of recruiting) were viewing phil's pettiness.  not well i suspect, because i don't remember phil ever signing another one from there.  maybe the entire conference ought to adopt the same attitude toward its athletes the conference has with regard to its teams.  anybody can leave any time they want with no penalties, no exit fees, and no hard feelings.

uprp7
uprp7

I'm a female student athlete at UT facing the same exact issue right now. It hurts that I sacrificed so much for the school and my coach yet they can't show the same courtesy toward me. There are many benefits to being an athlete, but there are also some cons. I don't understand how one coach can dictate an athlete's future.

dalewtx
dalewtx

I think the tampering clause would create problems.  Why not just say that a player cannot transfer to a school within the conference or two (2) additional schools chosen at the discretion of the coach (unless these restrictions are waved by the coach)  Your first and last could stay the same.

Mr_Travis_McGee
Mr_Travis_McGee

Why limit the kids at all? Coaches can go anywhere, as is their right. If the athlete weren't an athlete, there would be no restrictions on where he/she could get their degree.

I'm almost always on re side of colleges and the NCAA, but not when it comes to this issue.

Lupin
Lupin

It's been said before but here we go again, if schools want to control players for more than one year at a time then they should give longer than one year scholarships.

jomalley
jomalley

Good luck to you. Hopefully, they use common sense and let YOU decide your future.

jomalley
jomalley

Mark Richt is a class act. Gundy won't let a guy transfer, while he was a hair away from leaving last year. jJimbo Fischer won't let Mathew Thomas out of his LOI, even though he has never played a down. Nick Saban over signs and cuts scholarship athletes like it is the NFL preseason. They coaches and schools make millions and the players get nothing. An $60,000 athletic scholarship is nice but it pales in comparison to the Mark Emmert !Mike Slive,and Nick Saban make in one month. The schools are laughing all the way to the bank.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@Mr_Travis_McGee


As written in the story: 

"Obviously, not everyone can be allowed to transfer without restrictions.  While it might not be fair that players are bound to a school more than their coaches are, it is a necessity.  If there were no transfer limitations whatsoever, a coach’s departure could lead to an entire roster’s departure from a program.  On the surface that might look good for the players, but it would certainly be bad for any schools hit with such mass defections.  And such a massive shift in the college sports landscape could certainly lead to a decline in popularity and in finances which could in turn hurt athletes in the end."

Thanks for visiting the site,

John

jomalley
jomalley

In Conference limitations make sense. Gundy picking and choosing where the kid can go does not!

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

@jomalley 

I'm not sure if you're arguing with me or agreeing.  If arguing, you might want to read the full story above.

John

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 4. Why is former Oklahoma State quarterback Wes Lunt being restricted from transferring to certain schools, including Tennessee and Vanderbilt? One reason –  ”The belief that at least some coaches at some interested schools improperly contacted Lunt.” MrSEC weighed in on transfer limits Monday. [...]

  2. [...] we wrote that it was time for for the NCAA to create a uniform transfer policy that — for the most part — would take the power from coaches’ hands in such [...]

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    OSU’s Gundy Takes Heat Over Transfer Limits; Time To Take The Power Out Of Coaches’ Hands – MrSEC.com | SEC Football News | SEC Basketball News | SEC Football Recruiting | SEC Basketball Recruiting



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