A modest proposal to address issues with transfers and medicals.

Submitted by Mr Miggle on June 2nd, 2016 at 10:12 AM
Guaranteed four year scholarships are the best way to keep coaches from simply cutting players. That doesn't stop them from using other methods of managing their rosters. By that, of course I mean pushing out players they no longer need. Most of us think that's a problem. I don't think it warrants blowing up the system as Brian advocated. I offer a simple solution that I hope would lead to very few unintended consequences. 
Count transfers against the team's 85 scholarship limit for one year. Currently the player and his new school are the only ones affected by transfers being ineligible for a year. My proposal is not meant as a punishment. It's simply a way to add balance to the transfer rules which give disincentives to transfer or accept transfers, but not to lose them.
This wouldn't apply for grad transfers since they don't need to sit for a year. If the NCAA wants to bring back exemptions for family hardships, it wouldn't apply there either. I would still enforce it for transfers to a lower division.
Then there are the medical exemptions. A player with a career ending injury is given a medical exemption. He can stay on scholarship, but loses his eligibility to play there or at any other school. He also no longer counts against the 85 scholarship limit.
Nick Saban is well known for using far more medical exemptions than anyone else. The SEC has finally acted to limit him, but surely other coaches will follow his example. We've had controversy here with Pipkins. Doctors have to sign off on these exemptions, which should limit their abuse. An issue is the lack of definitive standards. Does it mean the player could never play again or that he wouldn't be able to next season? Would there be a too high risk of further injury or will he simply not be able to play at the same level? Ideally the NCAA should come to an agreement on such standards.
Players that reject an offer of a medical exemption and transfer to a school whose doctors clear them would be treated like any other transfer. Players who accept a medical exemption would be given the opportunity to seek out a second opinion at any time. With a favorable opinion they could regain their remaining eligibility by transferring and they would count against their previous school's 85 limit for one year.
I'm not proposing to extend this rule to players who lose their scholarships due to legal or academic issues. Coaches don't need extra incentives to keep those players around. Handling players with legal issues is a thorny problem that doesn't need a simple solution meant to deal with other issues. APR sanctions already address the academic side.


The Bugle

June 2nd, 2016 at 10:56 AM ^

The only issue with this, is I can't see many schools agreeing to let a player transfer if it hurts them. To many players transferring is actually a good thing, as it allows them to go to a school where they will get more playing time. Although your proposal is definitely coming from a good place, I think it would have the unintended consequence of making it harder for athletes to transfer.

Mr Miggle

June 2nd, 2016 at 12:26 PM ^

Schools can stop transfers now, but as a practical matter.they really can't. I can see the merit of writing that into the rules along with this change. It would also make sense to exempt transfers moving up a level, from group of five to power 5 schools.

On the other hand, transfers are typically replaced on the roster by incoming freshmen. We never know how many of those playing time transfers are truly voluntary, not when the incoming class has already been signed to take their place. My proposal would give coaches must less reason to oversign, since they won't have roster spots opening up. As things stand now, not oversigning puts you at a disadvantage. This would level the playing field in that regard.



June 2nd, 2016 at 3:27 PM ^

When the transfer is the player's "fault," why penalize the team.  I'm for letting everyone transfer whenever they want, but they have to sit out a year, including grad transfers.  There are a lot worse things that could happen to a player than having to take a free year of grad school.

Mr Miggle

June 2nd, 2016 at 6:36 PM ^

transfers are always the player's "fault". I don't think you want to adjudicate who's at fault when a player transfers, but the deck is stacked against the players. They have to sit out, schools can restrict where they can transfer or can even refuse to release them. That seems much less fair than I've suggested. Make the schools pay a small price and coaches have less incentive to push players out and no reason to oversign.

I like the grad transfer rule as it is, other than the charade of having to find a graduate program their school doesn't offer. I understand that not everyone does. I'll just point out that making them sit out makes it hard for them to transfer at all. That forces a school to offer them a roster spot for two years when they can only play one. It easier to justify taking transfers with more eligibility. There's also the issue of schools not having to renew their scholarships for a 5th year. Again the deck would be stacked against the players.


June 10th, 2016 at 11:05 PM ^

But the kids can't transfer?  What kind of pact with the devil is a scholarship?  Let them freely transfer.  But if a kid from Ball State gets a chance to go to Indiana so he does, next season Notre Dame calls if he transfered again it would look alot like job hopping to the NFLor even real world jobs. The kids go to the school of there choice and treat them well they are likely to stay.  Lower levels work that way.  Somehow they get the honor of restriction for making the man billions.

Sextus Empiricus

June 2nd, 2016 at 11:36 AM ^

doesn't want the player.  If a player transfers would that count against the school in your system?  I see plus/minus in every scenario.

Best system in my mind reduces NCAA overhead and edges toward open market.  I would like to see guaranteed two year scholarships (renewed up to JR year - giving both parties options and planning room) and zero penalties outside the current season for transfers (up to the last bowl game.)  Players could transfer freely each spring as they see fit.  Teams could cut rosters post spring ball.

The players are employees on many levels.  Let's simplify this by making CFB more minor league like with education as pay in lieu of work.  

Less NCAA... more business.  Welcome to the USA guys.  There is no free ride.  Play and get paid/educated.  Get cut and take your talent elsewhere (with a two year guarantee to allow academic stability.)  Find a coach you trust and work/play there.  Less penalty/NCAA rules. 

I'm not sure if I agree with your problem statement.  The rules are the problem not the solution.

That said I would like the current team/school to take a hit if they cut a player and they can't find another landing spot before the fall.  That would encourage both parites to find the best situation.  I'm not sure they need to be penalized more than having to pay board and tuition however.  The AD can decide when too much cutting is going on.  The cutting is not the problem.  It's the reality from which I don't think any player needs to be shielded.


Mr Miggle

June 2nd, 2016 at 12:42 PM ^

Regardless of the merits or your proposal, it's designed to change how college football and college sports in general operate. That's not needed to adress a relatively small issue. If it's a good and practical idea, it should be done for other reasons. The problem is that coaches can decide they don't want a player whenever they think they can find one better. There is currently zero downside to that approach, which is not true for the players who want to leave.


Sextus Empiricus

June 2nd, 2016 at 3:48 PM ^

I'm not trying to change that.  I would rather just call it out for what it is.  Players earn their spots.  Players work for college.  College pays for players board and tuition.  No work - No pay within reason.

Pipkins got another year of school by sitting out.  Not sure how he lost in that deal in the end...unless he isn't truly  healthy and only Michigan "team" doctors could see that.

Your proposal is the topic.  My 2 cents only.  I feel it is indulging a flawed system.   I would redo it that is all.



June 9th, 2016 at 2:07 AM ^

Youre advocating college football as a business and the op is probably saying that a broken contract generally has negative consequences for both parties. But this contract only punishes one party.
The ncaa may be smart to think a few years ahead and accept a few consequences for schools as opposed to punishing only the players before their hand is forced by legislation or unionization.


June 2nd, 2016 at 5:45 PM ^

My issue with this plan is that, with no transfer restriction and no penalty for cutting a player, it just becomes open season.  Coaches will have to spend half their time recruiting their own players and recruiting other teams.  This will also kill group of 5 football - any player who breaks out and is legit on a group of 5 team will immediately get recruited and picked up by a P5 school.  This also invites way more bagmanery into the game.  I honestly don't think the answer is full free-agency and an open market, that would just create too much chaos and result in too many players getting forced out of school or being forced to move all over the country every year.  

Sextus Empiricus

June 6th, 2016 at 2:58 AM ^

way it would go down.  Most all kids go to schools within 300 miles of their home.  Kids like to play near their familiy... go figure.  Yes there would be elite athletes who would move possibly twice in their career.

Breakout players need to go where the facilities and coaching are best suited to develop their talent.  Eric Fisher at Central??  is that really the best for him and for football?

I think your objections service the lazy coaches who are already exploiting the rules taking advantage of these athletes who have very short careers as it is.  There's a new coach in town who is willing to work hard for kids who want to be great.

Open market ... it's the way.  I am not convinced with bagmanery issues.   The bag man is an American staple.  No system is going to get rid of that.  Certainly the status quo is bag man galore.  It wouldn't be any worse.

With an open market the best football gets played.  The best talent gets the best coaching in the best facilities.  More fans see better talent.  Football first...no lazy coaches.  Join the revolution.


June 2nd, 2016 at 11:49 PM ^

How about a hard limit of 25 (4-year) new scholarships granted per year?

Scrap the 85-scholarship limit- if you can keep players in school, good for you.

Mr Miggle

June 3rd, 2016 at 11:20 AM ^

Really, that was my point. We're talking about a relatively small problem. it can be addressed by lessening the incentives for coaches to push players out. It's not necessary to change the whole system in a way that introduces completely new problems.

There are numerous problems with scrapping the 85 scholarship limit..

Title IX is an obvious one. Where do you find the space for an extra 40 football scholarships? The answer would be to cut other men's sports. The NCAA doesn't have the power to change Title IX rules. It should be enough to make any such proposal a complete non-starter. I know, Brian keeps pushing it. That's the old emo Brian, who cares neither for practicality or for non-revenue sports. 

Allowing 17 scholarships a year avoids Title IX problems but has big drawbacks too. Foremost would be its leading to far fewer scholarship football players.

It rewards schools for keeping players around for five years with redshirts. Why is that better than having them graduate in four and move on with their careers? I don't get the logic behind that. It also punishes schools for recruiting good players that will leave for the NFL after three or four years. Again, what is the logic behind that?

It makes it much harder for players to transfer. If you take a transfer, he'd use a roster spot for five years. Same for JuCos. Wasn't this proposal supposed to help the players? It does the opposite. All it really accomplishes is levelling the playing field between coaches that want to oversign and those that don't. I've suggesting one simple way to do that. I don't doubt there are more.



Sextus Empiricus

June 4th, 2016 at 12:08 PM ^

I think you have a problem statement that is begging the problem.  But I am serious.  A kid doesn't perform to team standards.  You don't want him cut?  Why?

Are you here to play football or not?  If you are... here are some books to read, professors to listen to and stairs to run.  Please do everything the coach asks you so that you can fufill the potential he saw in you in the first place...the potential you signed on to maximize.  

What on earth is wrong with cutting a player who doesn't show up for practice (mentally or physically.)  If Harbaugh says "Hey Swansun... you're not showing up.  I need you to show up."  are you saying he shouldn't have the power to cut him?  I don't get that.

If Saban is running through talent... he's also wasting development time on said talent.   These things take care of themselves over time.  

Oversigning is wrong...it's getting harder and harder for coaches to do that effectively.

Is it me or are attrition/transfers more prevalent than only five years ago.  Are 5th year transfers more common.  I think they are...but I don't have the numbers.  People want to play.  Coaches need to win.  Let's not get in the way by creating rules that limit spots for players who fit whatever  system the coach is running.

The NCAA is a large problem that needs more than a small rule change.




Mr Miggle

June 5th, 2016 at 5:10 PM ^

We've gone to guaranteed four year scholarships in the last fews years to combat that. The issue is that cutting players breaks a promise that was made to them. Maybe you don't care and perhaps the NCAA pushes a message about players all being students first that isn't realistic. But the truth is that are not just football players. Many of them are there to get an education. That's something Michigan constantly sells to its recruits and it's why some of them end up here. Few will have a career in pro football, including pretty much all of those who would get cut.

Sextus Empiricus

June 9th, 2016 at 9:16 AM ^

What do you do?  What if they don't teach classes?  What if they don't pass their prelims?

Mig - I appreciate the get back... you didn't have to... it's honest... but...

I care.  I care about Michigan.  I care about football.  Neither is well served by guaranteed 4 year scholarships.  There is only one reason they are offered.  The market for highly talented football players favors the highly talented.  Players play coy... like my false true Swansun.  People make a living off retweeting 17 year olds.  That wasn't true 20 years ago... five years ago.  It's a sellers market.  It has been more and more since the 70's.

We aren't camping in the south bringing the message to the masses.  Harbaugh is a carpetbagger.  Long may he sell his wares.  There are less players in the midwest than last year.  Less than the year before.  There may only be so many colleges but there aren't few enough to supress the need for talent.  That is where the 4 year scholarship came from... not from a false base of concern for students trying to get an education.

Michigan is more than willing to sell that education to high bidding econosocially pumped up freshmen who get admitted largely on the basis of their social status.  The athletes who can't make the team can get in that line.  To their credit Michigan largely recruits this base anyhow.

But don't say these guys need four year guarantees because ... gosh darn it... they're students.  That just doesn't ring true.  It's a marketing ploy championed by the demographically challenged B1G.

Michigan is a great place to play football.  Come and play.  Don't play and move on somewhere else or pay the tuition and board.  You can keep the price of admission.  That in and of itself is a gift in todays world.  And no more Ross Academic Support for those who don't make the team.  There's winners and losers.  Hoke got that right at least.

I'd hope that players who come to Michigan and don't get what they want (hopefully that is playing time) do move on.  There's many schools in dire need of talent.  Most all of them teach the same undergraduate cirricula.

Football is money now more than ever.  Let's drop the pretense and cut players who don't make the team.  Yes that is how it used to be perhaps.  It used to be a lot of things.  

Coddling football players who don't produce does a disservice to those that do and did.  Not every player has to start in that world either.  There's room for support and career scout players on any team.  A good coach isn't going to cut players without reason.  For all the talent talk most good football players are the ones who toe the line, pump the iron and run the stairs.  Those that don't are the ones that need to be cut for those that do.

Your OP kind of bothers me... I'll get over it.  Hypocrisy is the B-side of the money.  Real football has never been about money.


P.S. TamaraAsherwood told me to write this post.  I already see many typos.  I can't wait for her feedback. 


June 6th, 2016 at 10:16 PM ^

Title IX is not an issue, because the whole point is that 25-per-year doesn't radically change the number of actual scholarship players on the team at any one time. Normal attrition via transfers, early NFLers, actual medicals, dropouts/discipline, and hearty 5th year handshakes will take care of that.

You seem to realize the core concept of this when you say that 17 scholarships a year would lead to "far fewer scholarship football players".


June 3rd, 2016 at 4:33 AM ^

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June 9th, 2016 at 1:35 PM ^

the fix is get rid of the 85 cap. allow schools to sign 20 kids a year no more.  transfers don't have to sit out a year but count toward the 20.

This would encourage redsirting, make teams loyal to the players they have since there is no bennifit to them transfering. would discourage teams from taking lots of transfers since a kid out of highschool gets them 5 years a transfer would be less than that.

the only big issue is that walkons would rarely be given scholorships unless they are a threat to transfer to another school to get a scholorship.