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NCAA's transfer decision with Pitt's Trey Zeigler draws mixed reactions

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At the College Basketball Roundtable, we ask members of the college basketball coverage staff for their opinions about a current topic in the sport.

This week's question: After his dad was fired as coach at Central Michigan, Chippewas star guard Trey Zeigler transferred to Pittsburgh. Late last week, he was granted immediate eligibility to play for the Panthers. Were you surprised by the decision?

Mike Huguenin's answer: I was puzzled by the decision. The NCAA has a transfer rule in place – basically, if you leave, you sit out a season – but the organization allows hardship waivers and the like. No offense to the Zeiglers, but while this is a bizarre situation, it doesn't call for the waiving of the rule. The NCAA seems to apply its transfer rule somewhat willy-nilly. What is in vogue now is players transferring and being granted immediate eligibility because a family member is ill. "Family member" is a nebulous term, though. If the NCAA wants to revisit the transfer rule, no one would argue. Perhaps the new rule should be this: If the college grants a four-year scholarship to a player (which they are allowed to do) who later decides to transfer, the player has to get the college's blessing to play immediately at his new school or sit out a season. (And in that scenario, the school can't dictate where a player goes; once he leaves his original school, that's it.) But if the college grants only a one-year scholarship to a player (the most prevalent case), a player can transfer and not have to sit out.

[Related: Pitt transfer Trey Zeigler can play right away]

Steve Megargee's answer: It's hard to predict how the NCAA will rule in these transfer waiver cases because there doesn't seem to be much consistency, but I agree with the decision to allow Trey Zeigler to play immediately for Pittsburgh. Zeigler was the No. 28 player in the 2010 recruiting class when he signed with Central Michigan. Top-30 recruits generally don't sign with Mid-American Conference programs, so it was apparent Zeigler chose Central Michigan primarily because he wanted to play for his father. Now that Central Michigan has fired Ernie Zeigler, his son should have every right to leave for another program without sitting out a season.

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