MORGANTOWN — It’s still hard to believe, but even a week after the fact, the NCAA’s rule changes in college football, approved by the Division I Council, still benefit the student-athlete over anyone else.
I know, my mind is still trying to wrap itself around that, too.
Players can participate in up to four games without losing their redshirt season, which benefits both coaches and players as a season progresses and injuries add up.
The other rule is that schools can no longer tell players which other programs they can and cannot transfer to. Of course, there are still conference and “on future schedules” restrictions that don’t give players total control of their next destination, but it’s a step in the right direction in favor of players.
Unlike the new redshirt rule, though, the transfer rule isn’t something coaches will like.
One example is Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder, who will no longer be able to do what he did last year to wide receiver Corey Sutton.
According to Sutton, when he asked for his release from Kansas State following his true freshman season, in 2016, Snyder refused to give permission to any schools on a list of 35 other programs — none in the Big 12 or on future schedules within Sutton’s remaining eligibility. Sutton went public with Snyder’s attempt to block him from leaving, which caused Snyder to lash out by saying Sutton failed two drug tests.
Snyder later issued a public apology. Sutton was granted full release from KSU and ended up transferring to Appalachian State.
Sutton’s situation was a public example of what may go on at other programs across the country, and the new rule will keep coaches from blocking every school just because they don’t like the fact a kid wants to play somewhere else.
The new rule, dubbed the “notification-of-transfer” model, requires schools to enter the name of the player who wants to transfer into a national database within two business days of notification. (This will be enacted in October.)
Then coaches from other schools are free to contact him.
In a sport where it always seemed like coaches got whatever they wanted while never being held accountable, it’s nice to see that players do, in fact, have a say in what they think is best for themselves.
Players are still required to sit out a season during a standard release, which will deter many from running at the first sign of adversity.
The new rule won’t cause players to treat college football like the Wild Wild West.
One concern, however, goes right back to coaches. With little to no restrictions on where a player can transfer, the likelihood of other programs tampering will be on the rise. With any new rule, people will find ways around it and figure out any loophole possible.
If tampering becomes an epidemic, severe repercussions need to be handed down. That’s the only way to make this work.