Proposal would allow players immediate transfer if coach leaves or gets fired

Should players whose coach leaves for a new job get the right to immediately be eligible at a new school? (Getty)
Should players whose coach leaves for a new job get the right to immediately be eligible at a new school? (Getty)

Here’s another NCAA transfer proposal that makes too much sense not to be enacted in some form.

A proposal put forth by representatives at Baylor and Iowa State for consideration by the NCAA would allow players the opportunity to transfer with immediate eligibility if a coaching change happens at their current school.

Under this proposal, no student-athlete ever needs to secure the permission of the original institution in order to transfer, and student-athletes are immediately eligible for aid and practice. The proposal also addresses the inequities of head coach versus student-athlete mobility, making all student-athletes immediately eligible for competition upon transfer when a head coach quits or is fired or when sanctions are imposed on the original institution limiting post-season competition.

The proposal was first reported by CBS Sports. Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard told CBS that “Basically, we’re saying kids can go anywhere they want. For the first time ever in college athletics, the student-athlete is empowered.”

If the proposal was a current rule, players at Texas A&M, Florida State, Arizona and other schools who hired and/or fired head coaches this offseason would have the opportunity to find a new school and play in 2018.

Based on the paragraph quoted above, it would also have ramifications for players at Ole Miss. The Rebels are barred from playing in a bowl game in 2018 as part of the NCAA’s punishment of the school. As a result of the bowl ban — Ole Miss missed a bowl game in 2017 because of a self-imposed bowl ban — quarterback Shea Patterson is transferring to Michigan.

Patterson could get a waiver to be immediately eligible at Michigan in 2018. Or, if a rule based on this proposal was in place, he would be eligible without the need of a waiver. The CBS story also notes players would not be able to follow their coaches as part of the proposal.

The proposal also notes that “a plan that includes immediate eligibility for all transferring student-athletes creates an environment in which transfers will dramatically increase, and such a plan predictably will have an overall negative impact on graduation and time to degree.”

Because of that, it also gives transferring athletes another year to complete their degrees at their new school.

By adding one year to their clock, transferring student-athletes will have the same DRAFT number of years of competition remaining at the second institution following a year-in-residence as they did at the original institution at the time of transfer.

The idea of immediate eligibility for transferring athletes has quickly gained steam this month. The NCAA said earlier in January that it would consider immediate-eligibility transfer proposals in June. This proposal could be one of them. And it should be one of them.

It makes absolutely no sense in the era of increased awareness of student rights that players are stuck at schools if a coach leaves for a better job or the coaching staff that recruiting him or her to the school is fired. If a coach doesn’t have to sit out a year at his or her new school, a player shouldn’t have to as well if the school is no longer the right fit with a new coach in charge.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!