Originally posted Mar 02, 2008 08:58 AM I’m glad that it can be reposted on Hog Database.
Hi. Welcome Google Searchers for the NCAA Transfer Rule. This Entry applies to many transfer situations in BCS Football, Men’s Basketball and Men’s Hockey.
This blog entry is a fairly extensive analysis of the NCAA’s basis for Granting or Denying a Waiver of the requirement that an athlete “sit out” one year before being eligible to compete again. Since it was written in March 2008, it remains valid. If you’ve arrived here from a Google Search for NCAA Transfer Rule or Ryan Mallett, welcome! Any comments you have will be brought by the system to my attention.
Time after time we hear about UArkansas’ (or another school’s ) or a player’s involvement with the NCAA. Time after time the situation delves into some murky haze of unknown NCAA rules, unclear facts and prior examples of NCAA action which may or may not be an indicator of how they’ll act on this occasion. “[Bob] Knight said the NCAA rules are so complicated that he couldn’t find seven answers to a 40-question open-book compliance test administered by the NCAA. Six of the questions, he said, could have had at least two different answers.” Knight, the NCAA & Politics
Given the interest and impact, it’s incomprehensible that very few detailed explanations of the NCAA standards occur regarding ANY situation from the NCAA, the Press, or the Schools. On rare occasion when an explanatory snippet is shown, I’m usually pressing the TIVO replay button at the same time I’m saying “Huh?” out loud. I can’t tell whether the rule is just complicated, the person doesn’t know or have the skills to tell us correctly, or whether he’s presenting us spun half-truths designed to make it appear that someone is working hard for The Team.
When we hear of NCAA decisions, the single greatest problem is knowing whether the decision is made on Precedent or Politics. The NCAA will never admit to EITHER. If they admit to Precedent (consistently ruling similar situations the same way), then the Committee is subjected to ridicule for not following prior rulings on the next similar occasion. If they admit to Politics, the NCAA now has admitted bias and favoritism in the decision process and admit that something other than the best interests of the student-athlete or all institutions in the organization are the bases for their decisions.
As it pertains to NCAA control of student athletes, Somewhere in here, the people of Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Florida, et al. have lost control of how their State-Funded Universities treat their own children.
Student athletes account for 30,000 transfers per year. (See p.10.) It’s frankly amazing that many of them are accomplished given the layers of bureaucracy that the student athlete must penetrate including the release of scholarship from the first school, possible clearance from their conference, clearance from the NCAA, and acceptance by the new institution.
After Ryan Mallett’s transfer to UArkansas, AD Jeff Long pronounced that “extenuating circumstances” exist for Arkansas to support/pursue a waiver of the one-year residency requirement (Bylaw 14.5.1).
“In the coming weeks, the University of Arkansas intends to file a waiver to the NCAA staff requesting that the year in residence requirement for transfer Ryan Mallett be waived and that he be granted eligibility for competition beginning in 2008,” Long said in a statement. “After visiting with Ryan and his parents, we feel that it is appropriate to file a waiver in this case based on extenuating circumstances. While the outcome of the waiver request is uncertain, we feel strongly that as an institution we should offer our full support to Ryan and his family in this process.” (emphasis added.) Arkansas Sports360.com
Several high profile Division I football and basketball transfers received a waiver of the one-year residency requirement. This list is certainly not exhaustive.
Choice, a rising redshirt sophomore from Riverdale, Ga., enrolled at Tech in January after transferring from Oklahoma. He appealed to the NCAA and was granted the waiver due to extenuating family circumstances that necessitated him to move close to his home. ramblingwreck.cstv.com
Smith transferred to be near his father, who died last month of lung cancer. An NCAA review committee granted Smith’s transfer waiver in June, allowing him to play immediately for Tennessee rather than sit out a season. Prince wasn’t granted a waiver and won’t be eligible to play until the Vols’ Dec. 15 game against Western Kentucky. Sportingnews.com
Kenny Thomas & John Lucas — From Baylor in the Dave Bliss Controversy
Marcus Houston — Colorado State
Houston won rare approval from the NCAA to play immediately, rather than sit out a year. Houston, who played for Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, clashed with the CU coaching staff before he left.
While No. 23 Colorado State is CU’s problem this week, some coaches in the Mountain West Conference are unhappy with the NCAA decision.
Air Force Fisher DeBerry called the move a potential “Pandora’s box.” ESPN.com
The 3-star prospect from Lakeland enrolled early at Alabama this spring, but transferred to USF after the semester to be closer to home and enrolled this summer. Before committing to Alabama, Taylor was considering Florida State, LSU, USF and Florida, and Iowa. Scout.com
Zach Snider — Tulsa from Arkansas
Marvin Peoples, Ryan Schmidt, Julian Riley, Tyrone McKenzie — All to USF
“Extenuating circumstances” appear to be involved in each of the above situations, but it’s never explained that “extenuating circumstances” is the standard for NCAA consideration. Post-Hurricane Katrina, one article actually discusses extenuating circumstances because despite the loss of life, horrible days of abandonment, loss of homes, campuses, way of life, and dignity, the NCAA would NOTgrant blanket transfer waivers to the student athletes forced to go elsewhere.
INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA will not grant automatic waivers of its transfer rules for athletes affected by Hurricane Katrina. The association has relaxed some rules to help the athletes, but the NCAA said Friday it will consider transfer waivers case-by-case and take into account how the moves will affect the athletes, their new schools and their former schools…[Myles] Brand said … the NCAA would not bend a rule that requires Division I basketball, football and hockey players to sit a one year if they transfer to another Division I school. Brand said relaxing that rule could lead to the new school taking the entire team as its own, an action he called “athletic looting.” The NCAA said Friday that relaxing the transfer rule could also deprive teammates left behind and athletes at schools receiving a large influx of new players of the opportunity to play.
“We believe that suspending this [transfer] rule, even on a temporary basis, would take participation opportunities away,” the news release said. “It could create an open season for recruiters hoping to attract prized student-athletes to other schools.” A school can already seek a waiver of the normal transfer rules for student-athletes in extenuating circumstances, the agency said, and those applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.” 2005 Associated Press
The one-year residency rule requires the athlete “to complete one full academic year of residence [at the new school] before being eligible to compete for or to receive travel expenses from the [new school]…unless the student [complies with the Rule] or receives an exception or waiver…” Bylaw 14.5.1 And to help out, the NCAA has a form for the athlete to fill out to request a transfer.
Running over the good ground and not the muck, Bylaw 14.5.5 deals with transfers between 4 year schools. It starts out by wanting you to know that the transfer athlete “shall be eligible for financial aid… and practice [at the new school] under the rules of the [new school] and conference…” That’s good.
It’s here that the NCAA’s playbook (ok, manual) lists ten exceptions to the one-year residency rule for transfers. Here’s the list:
1. Educational Exchange — two schools teach degree requirements.
2. Student Exchange — the degree requires the student to participate in an exchange program (say, the athlete majors in Mongolian Language and the school requires him to study in Mongolia as part of his degree.)
3. Discontinued Academic Program — Sorry bud, the basket weaving professor ran off with new psych professor. We’re not offering basket weaving anymore.
4. Foreign Student Program Exchange
5. Military, Church Mission
6. Discontinued/Nonsponsored Sport — (e.g. SMU gets the Death Penalty.)
7. Two year non-participation
8. Return to Original School (i.e. change your mind exception)
9. Nonrecruited student
10. One-time transfer (doesn’t deal with football, basketball and men’s hockey)
If those weren’t enough, another five rules specifically provide for waiver of the residence requirement. (BL 220.127.116.11)
1. Student “transfers to (new school) for reasons of health.” However, this plainly refers to the athlete’s health. The application “shall be supported by medical recommendations of that institution’s team physician and/or the student-athlete’s personal physician.”
2. This deals with a student athlete losing eligibility because of alleged professional status or recruiting violations but is ultimately found innocent.
3. This deals with a program going on probation from post season play for the athlete’s remaining years.
4 & 5. Deal with probation status of schools and academic programs.
Folks, those are the one-year residency waivers.
If you’re paying attention, you don’t see the word “extenuating” anywhere in these waivers or anything like it… and I’m not conveniently leaving out some section to create a mystery.
The NCAA does have a searchable database for its Bylaws. It reveals the word “extenuating” only seven times. One deals with coaching staff. Another addresses transportation expenses. The last deals with the ability to reschedule a championship game to a Sunday if the weather or conditions aren’t safe. Two of them permit an extension of the term of the NCAA Rules Secretary. My Goodness! However, the two that actually deal with student athletes are exceptions to the 5 year limit to complete 4 years of eligibility rules! The most common use is the medical hardship rule to extend eligibility for one year when an athlete is injured.
Checking around to find out if I’ve missed something, I didn’t see extenuating circumstances or hardship mentioned in the NCAA Transfer 101 guide for student athletes either. If you were to look at all of the transfers mentioned above and the published reasons for them, you would not find any of them listed in the NCAA Student Transfer Guide.
MEET NCAA TRANSFER RULE X.
I’ll concede that there’s a lot to cover and that it’s difficult to prove a negative point. And even if I’m flat-on-my-face wrong, the whole set of rules is too complicated to allow any meaningful understanding by student athletes or their parents. Actually, that’s enough concession and humility…Bylaw 14.5.1 provides that an athlete is not eligible to compete or receive travel expenses unless the athlete complies or “receives an exception or waiver as set forth in this bylaw.”
However, athletes get waivers from NCAA Transfer Rule X which isn’t in “THIS BYLAW.”
I suspect that there are a couple of possible reasons for unwritten Transfer Rule X.
One possibility is that Transfer Rule X is based upon stated NCAA principles regarding student athlete. The NCAA’s stated, sworn legal position in federal court has been:
“(1) to prevent transfers solely for athletic reasons, (2) to avoid exploitation of student athletes, and (3) to allow transfer students time to adjust to their new environment.” McHale v. Cornell University, 620 F.Supp. 67 (N.D.N.Y 1985)
Commentators have both logically and statistically attacked the NCAA’s position. See, Jenkins, Vanderbilt Law Journal, A Need for Heightened Scrutiny: Aligning the NCAA Transfer Rule with its Rationales,Vol. 9 No. 2, and An Examination of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Transfer Rule and Its Effect on Academic Success at a Division I-A Institution, Andre Williams, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2007 Statistics.
Another possibility is the NCAA Transfer Rule X is a rule by analogy. In other words, if a student athlete is permitted an extra year of eligibility because of “extenuating circumstances” then the same reasoning ought to allow the waiver of the one-year residence requirement. These rules sound almost identical to the situations above. Keep in mind, the following Rule is NOT adopted for one-year residence waivers.
18.104.22.168 Circumstances Beyond Control.
Circumstances considered to be beyond the control of the student-athlete or the institution and do not cause a participation opportunity to be used shall include, but are not limited to, the following: (Adopted:8/10/94; Revised: 10/12/95)
(a) Situations clearly supported by contemporaneous medical documentation, which states that a student-athlete is unable to participate in intercollegiate competition as a result of incapacitating physical or mental circumstances;
(b) The student-athlete is unable to participate in intercollegiate athletics as a result of a life-threatening or incapacitating injury or illness suffered by a member of the student-athlete’s immediate family, which clearly is supported by contemporaneous medical documentation;(Revised: 1/9/06)
(c) Reliance by the student-athlete upon written, contemporaneous, clearly erroneous academic advice provided to the student-athlete …;
(d) Natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, floods); and
(e) Extreme financial difficulties as a result of a specific event (e.g., layoff, death in the family) …
Ryan Mallett’s situation is particularly intriguing. Where are Mallett and UArkansas going with this?
Maybe earlier than September 2007, it was plain that Mallett was not happy at UMichigan.
Mallett might have been more homesick than cold. As word of his discontent grew, hometown fans wondered if he would transfer to Arkansas. The rumors multiplied when Arkansas quarterback Mitch Mustain announced in January that he would transfer, eventually landing at USC. “He had some issues,” Michigan coach Lloyd Carr acknowledged. “It was very cold and snowy here. He had the adjustment of classes. He went through all the things typical freshmen do without the benefit of being around his freshman class. He went home at the end of the winter term, and when he came back for the spring term he was a new guy.” Chicago Tribune, Teddy Greenstien, Sept. 13, 2007
More intriguing is yet another mother speaking up for her college-aged son a la, dare I say, Beck Campbell.
“There are a couple of other things there that I don’t want to comment on now.” Asked if she thought those other things would be enough to convince the NCAA to grant the waiver, Debbie Mallett wouldn’t hazard a guess.“I don’t know if it’ll be enough to sway it, but it’s different than a personality conflict with the coach,” she said. “If the offense had remained status quo, he still would have been there…. Obviously if you’re slated to be the starter, why would you leave and have to sit out for a year ?” Whole Hog Sports, February 6, 2008.
Maybe the “couple of other things” are health issues that, for whatever reason, they do not want to reveal. There are numerous situations of medical scares that turn out to be real while some are simply scares. But, throwing medical situations before the NCAA that aren’t developed doesn’t sound like a good way of obtaining a waiver.
The really intriguing part is whether Debbie Mallet’s statements above were made out of ignorance of the standards and she’s not helping her son at all or…. it’s shortspeak meaning that they intend upon taking a shot at outgoing UMichigan Coach Lloyd Carr. Of the actual cases listed above, a number of them had to do with coaching problems. So in September 2007, Lloyd Carr suggests that Ryan Mallett “had some issues” during the Spring Semester of 2007. Carr was already on the retirement/hot seat and having a prize recruit transfer before the year began would not have been helpful. Reading between the lines, are they contending that Lloyd Carr made statements or representations to Ryan Mallett which enticed him to stay at Michigan, when he could have transferred prior to the year without suffering the one-year residency rule?
Of the individual cases hyperlinked above, Marcus Houston’s story seemed to be a particularly compelling example of a cirucumstance where the coaching problems didn’t have to rise to the level of a David Bliss controversy and it’s suggested as only an illustration of the rule variance and not because the situations are necessarily similar.
I suspect that Ryan Mallet’s situation has two branches and some fireworks aren’t too far away.
An unwritten, unpublished NCAA Rule leaves the situation completely in the hands of the NCAA without any accountability to us.