February 28, 2020

The NCAA is Going to Look Different, Fast

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An article from SI.com ended with the line, “The world as we know it is changing. And it’s changing fast.” That quote from an unidentified SEC administrator was the most appropriate way to close the article, that discussed how the latest movement in transfer rules is directly connected to the Name Image and Likeness conversation. What makes it tough for the NCAA is that they have to deal with all this change, and really all they can do is react.

Student athletes are at the core of this conversation, and while I do not doubt that the purest intent is to make sure that the best interest of these athletes is kept in mind, there is a big financial factor at play. The fact that the only five sports that do not allow for immediate transfer of students (football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, and ice hockey) are the biggest revenue drivers in athletics is very clear.

People have expressed worry about a mass transfer, once rules allow it to be possible, but as with the markets there will always be a balance of supply and demand. Student athletes will have to be careful about jumping the gun because just because one may be able to make a move, it does not mean that a place to move to will be open. The same works for the schools because even if a bunch of athletes decide to jump ship, there will likely be a lot of athletes looking for "greener pastures" conveniently available to fill the gap.

Coaches making sudden decisions to leave programs for bigger career opportunities, or departments firing a coach because of unmet expectations, has a large impact on these athletes. Being in college for the first time does as well, so the best interest should be considered for students, and efforts made to ensure that changes take into consideration the programs, coaches, AND athletes.

Name Image and Likeness is steering the massive NCAA ocean liner in a different direction, and transfer rules are doing very much the same. All parties involved have no choice but to weather the storm, and it will be interesting to see the aftermath of all this disruption. One thing for sure is that after the clouds clear, the NCAA will sure look different, and oh boy is it coming quickly!

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