When collegiate basketball players make the decision to play for a particular school, they’re making a decision of a lifetime. But, not all the time is that school the only school the player may want to attend. Sometimes basketball players receive their undergrad degree and still have eligibility remaining and decided to take their talents to often better and bigger schools. As they should be allowed to without any restrictions from their original college coach.
Transferring happens quite a bit in the collegiate basketball arena that it’s pretty much a part of the basketball industry. During this time players decide whether they’re going to continue to play for a school or make the decision to move on. However, the process for grad transfers is a little different compared to traditional transfers. Grad transfers are immediately eligible to compete on the court after leaving. Generally, they don’t receive any hassle about sitting out a year compared to undergrads who are required by the NCAA to sit out of competition. For instances, I’m a transfer student-athlete that went from one division I school to another, often referred to as red-shirts and I recently had to sit out for my decision to transfer. I had to sit out partially because I only completed my sophomore year at the previous institution, I had attended. Basically, I was nowhere near almost finishing up with my undergrad studies. So, when I transferred to the other school, I had to sit out a year per the NCAA rules. Even though I had to sit out a year due to my decision to transfer, a few of my former teammates did not have to deal with this severe punishment for transferring. They were able to enjoy the benefits of playing as soon as they left and when they began collegiate careers at their new schools, they were able to enter grad programs. While I worked on my basketball skills, studies, and cheering skills.
Although missing out on an entire season seems like the end of the world and punishment, it just doesn’t seem right to have a grad student sit out for transferring. It’s almost like saying, yeah, you accomplished something by getting your degree but if you want to leave then sit out. It’s as if sitting out is supposed to be retribution for a student’s hard work for achieving their ultimate goal. It’s one thing if a student doesn’t have any academic accomplishments, such as myself when I decided to leave. But, why should the grad student be penalized? The answer is, that they shouldn’t because they have earned the opportunity to take their skills elsewhere. One could argue that by requiring grad students to sit out a year, the number of people trying to leave would decrease in numbers. But, at the end of the day athletes would still leave and just deal with not playing for a season.
Sometimes making the decision to leave a program is not always the hard part, voicing your decision to coaches and administration can be the real challenging component. Which was the challenge for red-shirt guard Cameron Johnson. Johnson earned a degree from the University of Pittsburgh within three years, which left him with one more year of eligibility remaining. During his time at Pitt he also suffered an injury, leaving him with two years of eligibility when he made the decision to leave Pitt. Ultimately, Pitt’s coaching staff were trying to make things difficult for Johnson when he decided that Pitt was no longer the school for him. They tried to stop him from achieving his goal of leaving by limiting him to play at certain schools. Why should coaches be allowed to have a say in where a student-athlete goes or doesn’t go? No one is telling college coaches where to coach. Coach Laval Jordan recently made the decision to leave the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the players nor the Milwaukee staff, made that decision for him. He did what he felt was best for him at that time. Coach Val decided that Milwaukee was no longer the place he needed to be when his alma mater came calling. Yeah, a few people may have been upset but they weren’t trying to block him from his opportunity of a lifetime. Most times when a grad student decides to leave an institution it’s because they are chasing their dreams to play in a major conference. The students that leave may start out at some mid-major school and had limited scholarship offers in high school. But, have always dreamed of playing in front of thousands of people on the big stage. Why should the NCAA limit those dreams with grad student restrictions? College is all about learning and bettering yourself as a person and for athletes, it shouldn’t be any different.
After, my former teammates left and obtained their degrees, they went to schools in very competitive conferences and even had the chance to compete in the NCAA Tournament. At our previous school this possibility may have never even come along because they weren’t limited or forced to stay somewhere they didn’t want to be.