NCAA Athletic Scholarships/ESPN Outside the Lines

Did anyone catch ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” Sunday Morning? It was Part IV of four part series on the NCAA. Yesterday, it focused on the one-sided-ness of the contract between Student Athlete and the University, in favor of the university.

The part that was particularly interesting to me was that Universities have the right to make the scholarship a “one year” renewable scholaraship. The school has a right to terminate the scholarship every year, for any reason it wants to.

Much of the focus was on college basketball. ESPN focused on Billy Gillispie’s players at Kentucky that were dismissed (with eligibily left) to make room for all of Calipari’s players that were coming on board.

Student/Athletes that want to transfer to another Div I school cannot do so without permission from the school and IIRC the NCAA, yet they can be cut for any reason at all by the school.

I may have some of the facts wrong, but basically that is the jest of yesterday’s program.

What you’re leaving out, and they didn’t, was the fact that all NCAA scholarships are one year renewable, and you can lose them for any reason. I had the same deal with my regular scholarships at school, I had forms to fill out every year, and they could revoke my scholarship at any time.

While I’m a bit touchy on this because they way the report specifically held out UK as some horrible example of this, this is quite common and goes on at most schools. This is how Nick Saban trimmed his roster when he got to Alabama.

They can transfer without permission, they just have to sit out a year (and pay their own way for that year IIRC). IF they get permission from their school, they can transfer and play and be on scholarship their first year. Which is a ridiculous rule, we treat these guys like slaves enough already. If they want to transfer, let them transfer. There’s no need to penalize them for it.

That said, John Calipari is a jackass.

Sitting out a year only applies to well known sports like FB, BB and hockey. Maybe 1 or 2 others.

For NCAA sports like golf, tennis, swimming, etc. you don’t have to sit out a year.

It may be ridiculous, but there’s a decent reason for it. If there were no drawback to transferring, then players would be subject to heavy recruiting throughout their entire college careers. All players would go into free agency every year. Every team would have to start afresh every season. That would not be good for anybody.

Plus, there’s the advantage of young men, often with maturity issues, learning to live up to commitments, even though that lesson may be brought home more by the example of the university not having to live up to any of its own.

I’d waive the one-year rule for changes of coach, or suspensions of programs, that markedly change the basis of the arrangement previously agreed to. I also agree that players whose scholarships are removed should be able to transfer immediately.

No question. I had the pleasure of attending a UMass-Memphis game in Boston last month, based on the idea that both teams had been to Final Fours but the record won’t show it. Well, that, and both coaches were Calipari assistants last year. Can’t stay completely clean in this biz.

That said, Pitino was right to question why schools, and student-athletes, take the punishment when a coach gets caught, but the coach is never suspended. Calipari should have had to sit out as long as his programs’ did.

IOW, the revenue-generating sports. It’s a major business; don’t let the academic robes it’s wearing fool you.

Hope it’s not too much of a hijack, but I had a question about the OJ Mayo incident at USC. They have to vacate wins, lose scholarships and post-season appearances.

Is it true that nothing will happen to Mayo (who won’t even comment), Floyd (who resigned), and booster Rodney Guillory (who gave the gifts)

What could the NCAA do to any of those guys? Mayo and Floyd are in the NBA now, and they have no jurisdiction over a “private citizen” like a booster. They can ban the school from having any contact with them, though.

The NCAA does invoke “lack of institutional control” as the reason for nailing a university, when the problems are pervasive, which has some merit to it. But it’s still the players who suffer the most, even if they weren’t even there yet.

While guys like Calipari may abuse the system (legally), in other situations the coach is really acting in the best interest of the players. A few years ago at Colorado, they brought in a new coach who plays the Princeton style back-cutting brand of offense. It is very deliberate and requires a certain kind of player to make it work. He inherited a very young roster of players that had been brought in by the previous coach who played and recruited for an entirely different style.

Many of these players would have been miserable and probably spent the rest of their careers on the bench if held to their commitments. He brought in the ones he felt wouldn’t like or fit the new system and released them from scholarship and helped them to find new schools, which they all did.

If you can’t force a kid to stay against their will, you can’t force a school to keep someone who isn’t going to contribute.

Cite please? I believe the rule is slightly different. In a sport like swimming you have to sit out a year if you transfer in conference. As long as you go outside your conference, you can start immediately. That said, there is still a restriction on athletes transferring.

In theory, yes. In reality, USC won’t receive more than a slap on the wrist from the NCAA. The school simply brings in too much revenue to do more than that. The NCAA only gets tough on current students who don’t conform and small schools that won’t hurt the bottom line.

At least in football, there is also no wait if a player transfers out of Division 1-A. A major source of talent for 1-AA programs is guys who find themselves on the bench at a big-business team with little hope of playing even eventually.

THIS year’s team is banned from the tournament. The players who are there NOW are paying.

Not to mention that transfers make it much harder to graduate in four years. Anything that makes college athletes more likely to actually get their degrees is going to improve college athletics in my eyes.

This punishment was self imposed. The NCAA will not add any more sanctions despite years of improper benefits by USC.

For the record, I did say:

[bolding mine, the second time]

Yes, Kentucky was singled out and perhaps it is a little more visible than Saban’s situation at Alabama. There are only 13 scholarships available for CBB, while there are 90 (IIRC) at in CFB.

I would just have a hard time if my son was playing B-ball for Billy Gillispie last year, performed well, with plenty of playing time, and doing well academically, and Calipari comes in and says you are no longer on scholarship because I don’t want you. My hypothetical son committed to 4 years @ UK, and he wouldn’t be able to leave and play somewhere else w/o the schools permission. But UK can dismiss him because of the one year renewable.

It is different if the kids want to leave, like the situation described at Colorado.

A school will often do that in the hopes of forestalling greater punishment imposed by the NCAA. It would have happened either way.

Here is a 33 page document from the NCAA on transfer rules.

You can get a exemption from sitting out for 1 year after you transfer based on a few things but you can’t get the exemption for FB, BB, ice hockey , or baseball.

There may be conference rules on transfers , they are not in this document.

If colleges were really interested in seeing their revenue-generating players get degrees, they’d set up trust funds for their players that pay out on graduation (hell, use some of that money they save from their program’s tax-exempt status). Or they’d stipend every athlete a token $100 bucks a month so they can take their friends out for pizza once in a while (not like they can hold a part-time job when they spend an extra 20 hours a week in practice–let alone the extra time spent in “non-mandatory” practice sessions that you’d better not skip if you want to play this weekend). Or they’d hold coaches accountable for their players’ graduation rate by writing it in their contract.

But all of this would impinge on the vast amounts of cash made by even the smallest programs. Let’s face it: College athletics in the US is perhaps the most exploitative business in existence. If the plauyers were smart they’d unionize, but they’re not exactly chosen for their intellect…

I never have a problem if an athlete makes some money/gets a car or a job for a relative from a boosterbecause of restrictions like this. Just as long as they aren’t losing games/shaving points. Everyone: the school, TV, coaches, makes money except for the guys whose hard work makes it possible.