February 18, 2020

Momentum for Student Athlete Transfers

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The ACC announced that it is in favor of allowing student athletes a one-time opportunity transfer to another program in their college careers. Currently all but five sports allow this, with the exception of football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, and ice hockey. The general idea is that many students already have the right to transfer programs, and it is fair to open up that right to all students in order to allow them more control over their career. This move by the ACC adds momentum to the previous announcement from the Big Ten and their proposal for a similar policy.

The five exceptions appear to be the biggest money maker sports, which would make financial sense as departures of star athletes could impact the bottom line of a program. While that may be true, it also does not take the best interest of the student into consideration. There are other factors to why student athletes would want to transfer, aside from dissatisfaction with coaching, their team, or playing time, and that could include fit at the university and changes in academic preference, or even location. These athletes are often away from home for the first time in their life, and that kind of drastic change does not always bode well for some.

Another argument on the side of allowing open transfers for students comes in parallel to coaches and their ability to take on a new job at any time. When athletes are recruited to a university, the coaching staff has a big influence on their decision. When these staffs take on a new opportunity to grow their career and move on, the athletes are left behind. Participation in sports plays a major role in their college experience, and a drastic change in coaches can have a negative impact on these young athletes.

This is a development to watch, as it is another policy change that could greatly impact the biggest sports and conferences in the NCAA.

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