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Free Agency in the NCAA?

posted Sep 9, 2016, 1:57 PM by Austin James
As the NCAA rules currently stand, a college athlete who transfers is required to sit out one year before he/she can return to their sport. However, there is currently a case heading to federal court in Indianapolis aiming to change that.

A former Northern Illinois punter took a visit to Iowa in 2015, and he was offered a scholarship if he could play at the beginning of the 2016 season. Due to NCAA rules, this was not possible and he was not able to receive a scholarship. The player is currently bringing the NCAA to court in an effort to change the current regulations. His lawyers have been nothing but optimistic about the case, and they believe they will receive a favorable ruling in this landmark case.

The case is ongoing, but let's say that the court rules in favor of the former punter and the NCAA has to change the rule. Players would then be able to transfer from school to school without sitting out a year. What does this mean for college athletics?

I think the most prominent impact would be felt in college basketball. Transferring has become a common theme in recent years in NCAA basketball. Most notably, Maryland seems to have become the Island of Misfit Toys, picking up players dismissed from other programs through transfer. The Terps and other school have enjoyed success with the help of these transfer athletes. However, I think opening the flood gates and getting rid of the one-year-rule would hurt more programs than it would help. This would, for all intensive purposes, create free agency in college basketball. We would see the best mid-major players moving to Power-5 teams every year leaving their programs, who count on four year players, to rot away. Teams like Butler, Gonzaga, and Wichita State would become shells of their former selves as their best talent would effectively be recruited by the powerhouses and taken away.

This could set a dangerous precedent, and college basketball would certainly never be the same.