The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

The NCAA: Screwing Student-Athletes Whenever Possible

With the denial of John Raymon’s transfer waiver request, the NCAA has proven that, once again, it is a completely out-of-touch organization looking out for everyone EXCEPT the student-athletes it purports to care about.  The Confidential does not know all the details of why Raymon sought a waiver and does not care.  The bottom line is that a kid of roughly 20-years-old was denied the right of changing his mind in a way that virtually no other segment of American society has to endure. If he was a 50-year-old coach, the move from Iowa to Syracuse would be swift and without penalty.

Look, the Confidential understands the transfer rule generally.  If there was no transfer penalty, then the recruitment process would be ongoing year-after-year for players already on rosters.  If that happened, every star player at Iowa State could be “recruited” to finish his final two seasons at Nebraska.  And so on.  That’s just not how American society chooses to operate.

Except… that is EXACTLY how American society chooses to operate.  If an accountant wants to leave his firm, he can give two weeks notice.  If a lawyer wants to start her own practice, she can give two weeks notice and do so.  If an engineering major wants to transfer from Iowa State to Nebraska, he or she can do so without having to defer pondering differential equations for one year.  If the President of Iowa State wants to become the President of Nebraska, he can do so without “sitting out a year.”

Of course, the response to that is that the NCAA is not a normal business.  No, it is not normal.  It is simply made up of institutions, dozens of whom now make $20,000,000 a year in television revenue.  It is made up of institutions who do not balk at asking alums for money to build stadiums.  It is made up of institutions that are willing to pay coaches $1,000,000+ to tell a bunch of young adults what to do on the athletic field.  The NCAA is not “normal business” anymore, it is big business now.  So, NCAA, spare the world your 19th century morals.  You gave those up long ago.

Indeed, the hypocrisy is astounding.  The NCAA does not punish a coach who chooses to take a job at a new institution.  But it DOES impose a transfer penalty on the players that were recruited to play for that very coach at that very school.  So there is freedom of movement for adult coaches, but not the young adult players who foolishly chose to play for a guy that abandons the program.  And that is just the head coach.  What about the assistants that are on the front lines of recruitment and in many cases closer to the players.  Assistant coaches are even more likely to switch universities–voluntarily or involuntarily.  Just ask the coordinators at Houston and Wisconsin that were fired before mid-September.

So… if a 50-year old coach decides to abandon his $1,400,000 a year job at College A to take a $2,200,000 a year job at College B, he can do so without penalty.  If an 19-year old kid second guesses his decision to attend College A, and wants to transfer to College B, he must sit out a year.  Sure, the kid can still transfer.  But he cannot play his sport for one year.  The coach of that same sport need not sit out a year.  The NCAA is holding kids to decisions made on or before reaching adulthood, but allowing adults to have greater freedom of movement.

By the way, the NCAA has only recently decided that multi-year scholarships might be, say, a fair idea.  In the absence of multi-year scholarships, College A has been able to recruit a kid and decide after his first year that his athletic scholarship is revoked.  But the kid cannot revoke his own scholarship and seek one elsewhere.  Again, anything to screw student-athletes.  Fortunately, the vote to allow multi-year scholarships barely passed.  So at least now the kids restrained from transferring have a chance to bind the schools that bind them.

Of course, now the NCAA might want to drop the term “student-athlete.”  The Confidential is not sure what term will be used to describe who the NCAA screws in the future, but the screwing will likely continue unabated.   That’s just what the NCAA does.


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2 thoughts on “The NCAA: Screwing Student-Athletes Whenever Possible

  1. That was very well written. You were able to share most people’s sentiments in a very thought out post. These types of situations really bug me as well. Another thing I hate is that on top of sitting out a year, coaches and schools can block players from transferring to different programs. I understand why the coaches want that power, but if the players have to sit out a year, that should be enough punishment.

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