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Second-Time Transfer Waivers: Navigating the Expectations

Several coaches in recent weeks have expressed frustration with the new transfer rules, with one unnamed coach going so far as to describe his players as being sacrificed by the NCAA to make a point. He may even be right and pointed out that in the long run it would be good for the sport but he didn’t like his guys being made the example.

The “sacrifice” in question, a one-year sitting out period, is downplayed by the argument that it’s not a significant hardship. Players will still have the opportunity to play, and the punishment is they gain an extra year of education, living expenses, likely NIL (if they are receiving any), and potentially even a master’s degree or multiple degrees as they practice every day with the team and get better. What a tough punishment.

Perhaps some of these coaches are more worried they will gain another potentially free “grad” transfer year. One where players are free to leave in the middle of the summer after the free waiver date has closed for regular transfers. This was a point of contention for transfers like Jahvon Quinerly this past year. Some coaches expressed frustration and not knowing how to handle these players that had no restrictions. I can see the point that they were counting on them and thought they had their team just to have the rug pulled out in the middle of the summer and no way to replace them. That’s just part of the deal you need to prepare for with those 13 roster spots.

The NCAA has communicated the rules regarding second-time transfers multiple times over the past year, cautioning against attempting to circumvent them or try for a 2nd transfer. The expectation was that players and coaches alike should have been aware of these rules. Coaches, as the authority figures, are expected to emphasize the high likelihood of the mandatory sitting-out period.

The coaches should have operated under the assumption that there would be no waiver. If a waiver is granted, it’s considered a fortunate exception. If not, and someone else receives one, there should be no room for complaints. The unpredictability of wavier or certain cases is acknowledged, but many times those cases are legitimate as well.

The reality is schools higher on the food chain may have avoided recruiting second-time transfers, anticipating the likelihood of a mandatory sitting-out period and waste of that scholarship for this seasons goals. In many cases these players may not have been at the schools they are at otherwise. These coaches took the chance to get a better talent that may not have been available to them without the risk and are now hoping they didn’t have to sit out and waste that scholarship for a year.

Ultimately, there is little sympathy for these players, emphasizing the unprecedented benefits they now have, such as free transfers and NIL opportunities that were not afforded to players for decades. The sentiment here is that these players need to learn to be judicious in when to use the opportunities presented to them and to appreciate the value of it underscoring the element of personal choice in the matter.

In life many people who receive something of value will blow it quickly. Sometimes the value is in saving it for when you may really need it. Perhaps don’t immediately transfer after your freshman year like many of these 2nd time transfers did. Stick in there longer and work hard and try to make it work and save that one for a rainy day like if your coach leaves or you need it for a more legitimate reason. You need to take ownership of your choices too.

They made the choice on each of their respective destinations and consciously exercised their transfer options, making the choice to accept the rules, even if it means sitting out for a year. They should abide by them now. It is ultimately good for the sport and the rules were made clear.

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