Unintended consequences for student-athlete transfers

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Being forced so sit out after being forced out.

Kyle McDonald | Sports editor | @kylesportsbias

UVU Review head shots on the Wasatch Campus of Utah Valley University in Heber City, Utah, Friday August 7, 2015. (August Miller, UVU Marketing)

(August Miller, UVU Marketing)

In the world of collegiate athletics, transferring to another school is not that uncommon.  In fact in NCAA Division I men’s basketball there were 475 players that transferred to another school after the 2015 season.  Some transfer because of educational pursuits while others want more playing time and exposure.  Some players are even forced to transfer after being asked to give up their scholarship or being told to move on by their coach.

The problem for transfers is that most will have to sit out for one year from competition due to the NCAA transfer rules.  The NCAA has stopped granting a waiver to players to allow them to play immediately.  Even if a player is forced to transfer and they transfer to another Division I school, they have to sit out.  UVU’s Isaac Neilson, a transfer from BYU, is in this predicament.  According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, Neilson had no desire to transfer and was content at BYU.  However, BYU Head Coach Dave Rose did not renew his scholarship and Neilson basically became a free agent.

Neilson eventually signed with Utah Valley University and Head Coach Mark Pope who coached him at BYU. Due to the NCAA transfer rules he has to sit out a year.  Why should a player have to sit out a year after being forced out of his scholarship at another school?  What good does that do for the athlete?

In the past Neilson could have appealed to play immediately but now the NCAA has a lock on these rules and the student-athlete has no real recourse.

It is wrong that a coach can recruit a player, have him play for a year or two, then lets him go because he misevaluated that player.  On top of that, the player has to sit out a year due to those NCAA transfer rules.

Just because a player is forced from one school and transfers to another doesn’t mean he should be punished for it.  He should be allowed to play and play immediately. But unfortunately for student-athletes, especially basketball players, that is just not the case anymore.