College Transfer Rule Could Have Devastating Trickle Down Effect
by Christlyn Wise
Patriot Sports Media
Imagine this, you’ve been playing football for almost your entire life. You’ve striven to get better over the course of your career. You are now being recruited to play with a college---something you've been dreaming of your entire life. You’ve picked your desired choice, and now it’s time for spring training to start. Hot summer workouts melt into fall camp. Flash forward---the season starts, and you play 4 games. After that, your coaches must bench you for the rest of the season to keep your red-shirt year. You then decide that you no longer want to be on this team. So, you transfer to a different team.
Kelly Bryant was the starting quarterback for Clemson. After a few games, he was informed by head coach Dabo Swinney that he would no longer start for Clemson. Bryant decided to transfer from Clemson. When speaking about how he felt about the whole situation he said, “I just don’t feel like I’ve gotten a fair shot.”
This is a situation that is acceptable due to college rules. The amount of time an athlete can play without affecting his or her overall allotted time is 4 games.
Many football players transfer from team to team based on where they get more opportunities. College has a rule where you get a 5-year span to play. The new transfer rule states that athletes can explore other division 1 teams without having to get permission from the college they are currently attending. The other change is that players can play up to 4 games within your first year and are still able to keep your other 4 years of playing. Therefore, players can potentially train with a specific team for the summer, and then start for 4 games and after their time is over, he can go to another team and not have any repercussions.
This rule comes with a lot of controversy. There are a lot of different opinions on whether this should be allowed. On one hand you’ve got schools who invest their money into a player. There’s also coaches who invest their time and energy teaching an athlete to be better at their position as well as other potential positions. The coaches and the school are basically training an athlete for another college. However, on the other side the players are simply doing what’s best for them. He/she can play and train with a specific team and then pick up different skills with them and then he/she can switch to another team and pick up skills from them as well. This will lead them to be more talented and proficient. This might create some trouble when it comes to colleges recruiting players. The coaches are going to want to be extremely careful when recruiting so that he/she doesn’t get a player who is going to play until he/she isn't starting.
Players should be allowed to have the freedom to do whatever they please. If they want to be able to explore other opportunities, they should be able to without someone forcing them to go through anyone for permission first. This could potentially help a player because if he is talented enough, he will get press from the transfer which means other coaches as well as NFL coaches will notice.
With so many college football players transferring now after being on a team for months to even years, how will this new thinking trickle down to high school players?
Consider this. From a high school perspective, you live in an area that has multiple football teams. You also live in a state that allows you to choose your desired school. This means that you can go to whichever school you would like to go to no matter what school your county says your designated school should be.
For example, Jacob Copeland is a wide receiver at the University of Florida. Copeland went to Pine Forest for most of his high school career; however, because of the rules he was able to transfer from Pine Forest to Escambia his senior year. His move possibly helped him be able to graduate 9th in the nation in his recruiting class.
The high school transfer rule says that players can play for whatever team they want no matter where they’re zoned. This is a lot more lenient than college because there aren't any rules. High school players can basically do whatever they want if the sports season hasn’t started yet. Therefore, in areas like Pensacola, where schools are mostly close to each other, athletes can choose what school he/she would like to go to, even if it’s purely for athletic purposes. This could affect some high school players’ lives drastically. If a player lives in a very small school district, he can easily get to a bigger school with possible more exposure and better facilities. College football scouts want to hit bigger cities where there are more talented kids, so if you go to a bigger city school you could end up getting more recognition. Also, if a football team has a history of not very good, the more advanced players can transfer to a better team.
I talked to some of the athletes at Pace High School to see what their opinions were on the different type of situations that could happen with the transfers.
When I sat down with Robert Wright, a senior football player, I first asked him if he wasn’t on the starting lineup at Pace High School, but another team offered him starting lineup, would he transfer? He immediately said, “No.” However, when I asked him why he had to think for a few moments on how to word his answer, he ended up saying it’s a situation where you need to be “loyal to your team, not a traitor.”
I then asked Wright how he would feel if a good friend of his decided to transfer. This question got a very quick response. “I would be mad,” and then he continued to say, “obviously he wasn't good enough for the program.”
Transferring is a very controversial topic in the sports industry. In a college situation the players don’t get to transfer and play without wasting a year unless they have played in four or less games. In a situation involving high school athletes, they can transfer wherever they want without any type of restrictions. However, in both situations the coaches are wasting their time and money on athletes who are just going to leave when they are no longer benefiting by a certain team.
Who knows in this day and age if player loyalty even means anything anymore. With all the focus on the individual, should we ultimately abandon the misnomer of a “team” sport?