Every year, a number of college Basketball players decide that the school they have chosen isn't really for them. These students are faced with limited options when they have to make a decision. Archaic rules set forth by the NCAA prevent a player from playing right away after transferring universities. For these reasons, players rarely choose to transfer even if they are unhappy. Instead, they choose to stick with their chosen school.

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Let's first consider the rules of transferring:

 Undergraduate students follow these rules

Undergraduates almost always have a one-year waiting period before they can play any college basketball after transferring. Special exemptions are granted in unusual circumstances, but these are exercised rarely. So why should these rules be considered unfair?

 

1. The athlete isn't happy at his current school

Not everyone picks the right college initially.

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As a freshman, these students often have no clue what they are doing. They try to make the most informed decision that they can before picking, but the end result can be a blindfolded dart throw. If the athlete isn't happy with the school after his freshman year, why should he have to wait another year to competitively play a sport he loves?

 2.  The coach recruited a new starter

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Think again. Guard Derryck Thornton, a major player who managed to contribute 7.5 PPG last year, has essentially been forced to transfer after Duke University brought in several high-level recruits. Duke University is expected to contend for a national title with its new class, but players like Derryck Thornton are often forgotten in the mix. Thornton, a talented guard who was likely promised significant playing time at Duke, will now have to wait a year and hope another college basketball program is willing to take a chance on him.

 

3.  The coach broke his promises

Not every college coach is the nice guy that these athletes saw in recruiting. Jim Valvano, famous for his role in helping NC State win a championship, was one of those coaches who allegedly broke his promises. In a book called Personal Fouls, Peter Golenbrock described an NC State team fraught with talented individuals who never got any playing time. These players were made promises that Valvano never kept. NCAA rules made it far less likely that any player on the team could transfer from the unfortunate situation.

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4.  You're delaying the life of a college student by a year

If a player chooses to transfer in his freshman year, he will be eligible for three more years after spending an academic year in residence. This encourages students to take five or even six years to graduate, delaying the exposure of these students to the real world, unless they are planning on entering the NBA draft.

 

The situation with graduate players is different

Under current transfer rules, a graduate student may play immediately after transferring.

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This was the situation for Damion Lee, who transferred from Drexel University to Louisville University last season. Damion Lee was rewarded by this perverse rule that doesn't apply to undergraduate students.

 The Solution

I propose a simple solution to fix these problems. If a freshman chooses to transfer from his original school, he should be able to play competitively immediately. By the end of the first year, the student will know whether or not he feels comfortable at his current school. To prevent sophomores and juniors from transferring between schools every year, the one-year waiting period should remain in effect, except in extenuating circumstances. The current rule that allows graduate transfers to play without waiting a year is acceptable even if it did hurt Drexel's chances at a tournament berth last year.

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