NCAA’s decision to nix grad transfer rule change is win for student-athletes, common sense

first_imgIn the unusual event another athlete encounters the same situation, he or she will be able to transfer and compete immediately if the head coach leaves that position before the first day of fall-term classes. The NCAA also ruled that walk-on athletes can transfer and play immediately, so long as they are members of teams that grant athletic scholarships.The rules go into effect immediately.“It’s definitely a win in our books,” said Enna Selmanovic, a former swimmer at Cincinnati who is the vice chair of the Division I student-athlete advisory committee. So if there’s another Matt Mooney out there, with a degree in sight and designs on a college basketball experience different than previously experienced, they will not have to be concerned about dwindling or disappearing opportunity.MORE: Texas Tech, Mooney graduate to championship gameIf passed, the rule would have required the scholarship for any athlete who used the graduate transfer be counted for two years — even if the athlete only had one year of eligibility remaining. There seems little doubt that would have curbed the number of schools seeking to add graduate transfers to their programs.ESPN college basketball analyst Bob Valvano, in a Twitter comment, called the proposal “among the worst of all.” He said athletes in that circumstance have done everything asked of them. “And now you want to take something away from them. These are the EXACT kids you should be rewarding.”Mooney attended Texas Tech in the 2018-19 academic year as a graduate transfer. Because he had completed his studies at the University of South Dakota, he was eligible to enroll at another university and compete immediately. He chose the Red Raiders and became a starting guard, averaging 11.3 points and 38.6 percent 3-point shooting. He was one of two grad transfers, along with center Tariq Owens, in the Tech lineup.According to the NCAA, about 2.1 percent of Division I players were graduate transfers in 2017: roughly 95 players. According to the transfer list compiled by Jeff Goodman of Stadium.com, 128 players expect to be grad transfers in 2019-20.Many who coach at the mid-major level see it as a burden to possibly lose high-level performers such as Mooney. But it’s also possible for such players to move from high-major schools to those in less publicized conferences.Guard Ronnie Harrell left Creighton after three years as a part-time player and started 24 of 29 games at Denver, where he averaged a career-best 12.9 points. Guard Larry Austin went from Xavier to Vanderbilt — barely playing at either spot — before ending up at Central Michigan in 2018-19, a season in which he started all 35 games and averaged 17.5 points.Mooney told Sporting News during the Final Four that the rule change, had it been adopted before he finished at USD, likely would have meant he wouldn’t have the opportunity to play at Texas Tech and, eventually, in the Final Four.“I like how it is,” he said. “I’m benefiting from it.”MORE: SN’s way-too-early top 25 for 2019-20The NCAA Division I Council also approved a rule change that will make transfer players in very narrow circumstances eligible to compete immediately. We can call it the Braxton Beverly Rule. Beverly had enrolled at Ohio State for the summer session in 2017 — but decided that before Thad Matta left his position as head coach that June. He petitioned for a waiver to become immediately eligible at N.C. State.It was an awkward request, because the rules do not provide for immediate eligibility for any other athletes whose coaches are fired or leave for different jobs, save those who are graduate transfers like Mooney. But Beverly had no way of knowing Matta would not be his coach upon arriving for summer classes.Beverly was twice denied by the NCAA but ultimately received the waiver — after State had already played two games in his freshman year. He has started 55 of 66 games in his two seasons with the Wolfpack. Matt Mooney traveled to Minneapolis to win an NCAA championship — and wound up becoming a cause.He came about as close to a title as one can get without actually winning it, as Texas Tech lost in overtime to Virginia in the championship game. That’s not to say he was beaten on all counts: Friday, the NCAA announced that a proposal, which would have made it punitive to accept graduate transfers, had been defeated its Division I Council.last_img

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