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Are Transfer Rulings Equal

Why does a player that leaves a program in good standing have to sit out a year while a player that was chased off gets immediate eligibility?

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

In light of the new autonomy ruling and what could be the start of monumental change in the NCAA landscape I want to touch on something I take issue with. An area that needs to be addressed is the inconsistency that currently exists in the NCAA rulings on transfer eligibility.

If a player is unhappy at their institution, I respect his/her right to leave to find a place that fits their wants and needs. This is a right a player should always have. What I take issue with is the perceived inconsistency in implementing the one year ineligibility ruling. This one year "must sit" rule is a necessary evil and without it an off-season free agent market could get out of control. The NCAA or Big 5 simply need to find a way to make the policy more consistent.

Take the Dorial Green-Beckam and Michael Dixon cases for example. You like how I picked two Missouri players? I promise I am not biased. (Disclaimer: I understand all charges were alleged and we live in an age where false accusations occur very frequently. I am not an expert in the field of law so I am not trying to make an argument of guilt or innocence for either of these guys. There are professionals in place that have done that.) Both of these players were dismissed from Missouri in recent years due to team violations and/or alleged legal issues. In Dixon's case, he was able to play immediately and in Green-Beckham's case, it appears (according to OU) he has a chance to play immediately. At the end of the day, regardless of the legal findings, it was reported that these players were dismissed for accumulating behavioral issues and, because of this, should have to face a year of ineligibility.

How can you justify allowing players dismissed for behavioral issues to play immediately while someone who leaves in good standing (like Andrew White) has to sit out one year? Maybe the "Free Andrew White" campaign still has a purpose? I live in Omaha so if he happens to sign with Nebraska, I will take up the fight.

Gregg Doyell wrote an article in which he, sort of, defends Beckhams right to play. He is right that rules are in place that preserves his eligibility but I just can't agree with it. Forget the rules and ask yourself if it is fair. Is this rule justifying the idea that White would have been better off getting kicked off the team? It sure seems that way.

With any case, there is always information or circumstances that fans are not privy to. But to my uninformed eye, there seems to be some discrepancy in how these cases are handled and I would like to see the process develop some consistency.

There will always be situations that some will argue call for immediate eligibility and I agree with some of those. The Baylor and Penn St. situations come to mind or even hardship issues. The argument that when a coach leaves a school a player should be able to transfer without sitting out a year is one I have heard a number of times but kind of falls into a gray area for me.  Believe what you want, but I do believe most players choose a school because of the coach and not because of the name on the jersey. If this coach leaves for "greener pastures", then the players should have the right to do the same, but play immediately? I would like to say yes but does this open a can of worms? In this case the question also has to be asked whether a player should be able to follow his coach to his new school? Initially I say no, but if student athlete's rights are at the heart of all this change, I can't seem to come up with an argument against it.

Along the same lines, I can't come up with a defense for the current power a school has over blocking a transfer or determining what schools a transfer can attend either. One could argue that this is similar to a non-compete clause you see in the professional world, but I have never signed a non-compete clause so my knowledge of that type of contract is limited.

Tweaking eligibility rulings, as with most NCAA policies, can be tricky. Changes that are perceived as small can have long lasting and long ranging ramifications so these things need to be thought out but I would like to see this issue addressed soon.