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.