A college basketball coach is fired by a university. The school’s star player, who was recruited by that coach, decides that she would like to transfer to another college to
finish her career.
Seems reasonable, right?
Then the university grants that player the right to transfer, but proceeds to block her request to transfer to 94 different schools during the process.
Folks, that’s the NCAA for you.
This situation played out over the last month with Kansas State and its stud guard Leticia Romero, who wrapped up her freshman year with an All-Big 12 Second Team selection while averaging 14.2 points per game with 5.8 rebounds and 5 assists.
Kansas State fired coach Deb Patterson, then stonewalled Romero when she submitted request after request to transfer, according to reports by USA Today, ESPN and many other media outlets. It’s normal for a school to engage in such tactics, but most colleges simply deny requests to transfer within the conference – and in some very limited situations, to in-state rivals.
But in this case, the Wildcats were belligerent in their bullying of Romero, who admittedly was their best and most consistent player (she was the only player on the team to start all 30 games and also was the first in school history to win four Big 12 Freshman of the Week Honors). They denied her requests to transfer to almost 100 schools, only approving a move to lowly Middle Tennessee State – and that was due to a clerical error.
The NCAA’s transfer policy says, at its core, that if a player wants to transfer, they must first be released by their school or they cannot receive a scholarship from their next school.
But the core flaw of the policy is that players are considered students when it makes sense financially for institutions, but then considered contracted athletes when it stands to benefit their colleges.
Any ordinary, scholarship student can leave a school, cancel their scholarship and receive a new scholarship from another school if they decide to transfer. Without any waiting time and certainly without any influence from their previous school.
But when a college-aged player dons the NCAA brand, they shed themselves of that student label and become a player with a contract. Their scholarship depends on that.
This situation finally ended, mercifully, when Kansas State withdrew its former restrictions and only limited Romero from transferring to schools in the Big 12, as reported by the Kansas City Star.
But the inherent hypocrisy remains for a league that refuses to entertain the notion of including players in its profits or allowing them to collectively bargain for their rights, all under the banner of amateurism and the “student-athlete” fallacy.
Let the students play. And please, let the athletes transfer.
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