OT: Jay Bilas criticizing universities heavily for blocking student transfers

Submitted by Jskohl88 on April 18th, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Generally I am not a fan of Jay Bilas, although his twitter "swag" can be hilarious at times, but I think he has this issue completely right. He is going on a twitter rampage at universities for blocking student transfers, specifically pointing to other university officials, including head coaches, leaving universities mid-contract for other ones. For once, I strongly agree with Bilas. Plus, the tweets are more amusing than anything





April 18th, 2012 at 9:23 AM ^

I'm sure universities would love to include non-compete agreements in their coaches' contracts. The problem is, it's a sellers market out there when it comes to coaching talent and the bargaining power isn't held by the unversities.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the 1-year sit out rule only apply when you're a scholarship athlete? Can't a walk-on transfer at will without sitting out a year? If so, I don't think it's unreasonable to require kids agree to such a rule in exchange for accepting a full ride scholarship.


April 18th, 2012 at 9:30 AM ^

Let's say I have an  full ride academic scholorship.  I decide I hate Wisconsin and want to go to Maryland etc.  Does Wisconsin block me from doing that?  By your logic,  I accepted a full ride scholarship, 

You are correct a walk on can transfer anywhere, but still has to sit out a year even if he pays his own way.

Beilein has a good grasp on this.  That 40% of BCS schools players transfer or go to NBA.  It's Wisonsin with its head in the sand, trying to ignore the problem


April 18th, 2012 at 9:51 AM ^

I suppose my response would be that a student on an academic scholarship transfering wouldn't cripplethe math department, for example, in the way that a student on an athletic scholarship could cripple the basketball program. It makes sense that schools would ask the NCAA for such a rule for athletes and not for humanities majors.


April 18th, 2012 at 10:01 AM ^

shouldn't cripple the basketball team or football team either.  I don't think a transfer on the basketball team would cripple the team.  Most transfers are transfers because they aren't getting minutes anyway.

 Plus taking the scenario further.  Let's say its some genius in the bio medical department.  Does Michigan block that student from going to Harvard or John Hopkins.  Heck, I could even claim those schools are in direct competion for research grants too.


April 18th, 2012 at 10:48 AM ^

its comparable...they arent signing a letter of intent., generally aren't recruited, and I think that sports is a different animal so analogies outside of the sports world don't alway shold true.  I think perhaps a conference ban is reasonable, EXCEPT for the players home state.  But multiple conferences and competitors is too much.

Bilas is too idealistic.  He is a former player and doesn't have much in the way of looking at the big picture.  If you notice how he falls on debateable issues, it is always on the side of the player ie pay for play.


April 18th, 2012 at 11:40 AM ^

I think a conference ban is acceptable with the exception of the home state of the player.  Unless the current school is also in the home state.  IE no transfers from Purdue to Indiana.

But banning players from a whole separte region or state is silly.  Any coach or person with a job can move at will.  Why is it the first school's choice.  I mean if I'm a lawyer, engineer whatever and want to go to a competing firm, I can.  I mean they are paying me, which is pretty similar to a scholaship in my opinion.


April 18th, 2012 at 10:23 AM ^

It makes sense that they would ask for it, but it shouldn't be allowed by the ncaa. It appears to be borderline discrimination. If anyother student or employee is free to move on or transfer without restriction, than why should a student athlete playing football or bball? As long as the other school is comfortable giving them a scholarship, they should be free to move there.

And furthermore, a transfer won't cripple an athletic program. Most transfers aren't stars, and even if he last player on the bench transfers, he has helped more than pay for his scholarship and direct expenses. 

J.W. Wells Co.

April 18th, 2012 at 11:29 AM ^

...probably wouldn't work in the context of college coaching anyways.  To be binding, non-competes must be reasonable in (1) length of time; (2) scope of proscribed conduct; and (3) geographic scope.

As a matter of public policy, we want people to be able to earn a living doing that in which they are best trained and most talented, so courts tend to look harshly on non-competes that are even just a little too burdensome.  Moreover, courts review non-competes even more narrowly when there isn't a direct client/customer base to be protected, or there aren't trade secrets to be protected.

In the context of buying your average small-town neighborhood gas station and taking a non-compete from the former owner as part of the sale, the absolute most that would probably be considered reasonable for a non-compete would be maybe (1) 5 years; (2) no sales of gasoline or other convenience goods; and (3) a radius of 30 miles.

In the context of college coaching, with coaches not able to directly steal "customers" and with few if any actual trade secrets to protect, and with so many different schools out there in different areas of the country, in different conferences, in different NCAA divisions, and that don't even play each other, I think the most you could ever reasonably get out of a valid non-compete might be (1) 2 years; (2) no head-coaching at Division 1 FBS level; (3) same state, or a radius of 100 miles.  Even that might be pushing it, given the established nature of the industry.

Of course, such a narrow-scope non-compete would never keep a coach from jumping ship and going to a different job; the reasonable scope of the non-compete would just be too narrow to have any teeth.


April 18th, 2012 at 12:59 PM ^

Lawyer'd. FWIW, there's a strong presumption against non-competes, but this is especially so in fields tied to public welfare (healthcare especially). When there's a number of available other options, your argument starts to diminish substantially. I would guess that a BCS school could get 3 years, same conference (for major sports), and 100 mile radius (for recruiting). I think you'd be more likely to get Conference-based restrictions than geographically-based restrictions. 


April 18th, 2012 at 9:28 AM ^

Usually, if Bilas thinks one thing, my inclination is to take the opposite position. But yeah, he's right on this. The fact that it's inconvenient if a kid transfers to an in-conference school is beside the point. In an era where you have schools basically telling kids, "You need to go somewhere else" simply because they were poorly evaluated coming out of high school, trying to then block where that kid can go is scummy.


April 18th, 2012 at 9:36 AM ^

Athletes' transfer rights can only be restricted, AFAIK, by their present school. Is there any reason they can't transfer to a college their present school allows, and then immediately transfer again to wherever they actually want to go?


April 18th, 2012 at 9:36 AM ^

Yes, I think that coaches that block transfers are jerks playing out their god complexes, but the real problem is the rule that allows them to do this in the first place.   If a scholarship is a one-year renewable deal and coaches have the option to send a kid on their way, the kid should have the same right to say "no thanks" and go wherever they want.   


April 18th, 2012 at 9:43 AM ^

Blocking a kid's transfer is total garbage. And Bilas is correct to say that these presidents are nutletss to allow this to happen. If the kid wants to go, let him go. I think it makes coaches look weak and classless when they restrict transfers.


April 18th, 2012 at 9:48 AM ^

Over this and over the whole, you know, BILLIONS of dollars that these kids generate. Just to play a tiny, tiny bit of devil's advocate, I think it's totally legit when schools/coaches have blanket rules. For example, the B1G won't let you get a scholarship if you transfer to another B1G school. That's why Mr. Plow paid his own way at OSU. That's a conference wide policy and and upfront one. Kids know what they're getting into in that sense. If coaches are up front wiht their transfer policies and it's an established policy, that's one thing. hopefully the coach has a heart and makes exceptions when necessary (family health issues, etc.) 

When coaches come up with one-off rules indvidually for each player, that's total spite and bull as far as I'm concerned.


April 18th, 2012 at 9:49 AM ^

Is Brian Kelly blocking the Lynch transfer to Florida?  I heard this on the radio the other day, but I haven't seen it confirmed anywhere.


April 18th, 2012 at 9:59 AM ^

FIU's entire team walked out of their banquet to protest the firing of Isiah Thomas.  When a bunch of them tried to transfer, they were all told they would not be given releases.  

If that happened to me, I think I would hit the books really hard and not put a lot of energy into basketball anymore, doing the bare minimum and skipping all "voluntary workouts."  Then, I would wait for the coach to find an excuse to revoke my scholly.


April 18th, 2012 at 10:24 AM ^

there's one real problem with the 1-year scholarship argument.  If schools started refusing to extend a player's scholarship after the player's freshman, sophmore, etc. year for reasons other than legitimate discipline or academic issues (i.e, to open a scholarship for a better player), they would be blasted in a manner similar to that which Bilas is blasting Wisconsin in this situation. 


April 18th, 2012 at 10:35 AM ^

I have no problem with coaches blocking transfers against teams within the conference or teams on the schedule in the future. But they should be allowed to go wherever they want beyond that.


April 18th, 2012 at 10:58 AM ^

against teams within the conference or teams on the schedule in the future if schools are similarly allowed to block coaches from taking jobs with teams within the conference or teams on the schedule in the future.  

It is absurd that the restrictions on 18-21 year-old-kids not receiving millions of dollars are more onerous than the restrictions on 50 year-old-men making millions of dollars.  


April 18th, 2012 at 10:49 AM ^

I think the latest example of this (and perhaps the impetus for Bilas' article) is Jarrod Uthoff from Wisconsin.  Talented kid from Iowa, transfers after freshman year, and Bo Ryan has a gargantuan block list that includes all Big Ten teams (that makes sense), Marquette, Iowa State, and ALL ACC teams.  Glad Beilein seemed to give Smotrycz room to run.