Quit Stahl-ing: New NCAA transfer rules are an injustice

WKU Lady Toppers played Old Dominion on Thursday, Feb. 8 at E.A. Diddle Arena. The Toppers won 62-48.

Matt Stahl

Recently, the NCAA decided to change its athlete transfer rules to make it harder for 18 to 22-year-old college students — who are working for free while the organization, its coaches, its athletic directors and many of its schools make millions upon millions of dollars off of their backs — to switch schools if they so desire.

That’s stupid.

Pure and simple, that’s one of the most stupid things that has ever come from an organization that bases its entire business model on nothing but greed and stupidity.

Explain to me how it makes sense that someone who is supposed to be an “amateur” shouldn’t be able to up and leave whenever they want.

Probably because the athletes are supposed to play “for the love of the game” and perform whatever other tired clichés that the NCAA drums up in a feeble attempt to convince the masses how it shouldn’t have to play the players who made it more than $1 billion in revenue last year a dime.

Players who wish to transfer and be able to compete immediately are going to have to come up with a letter from the athletics department of their previous school that says that the player is being run off from that program.

If a player feels that they’ve been abused in any way and wishes to get a transfer waiver for that reason, the onus is on them to provide documentation of the abuse.

There’s no way that athletic departments around the country, from WKU to Alabama, to Southern California to Rutgers, will help the athletes that they don’t want anymore get a scholarship somewhere else.

I also don’t believe that those departments will document cases of abuse against coaches for athletes to use against them later on.

What is believable is that the NCAA is doing this to prevent cases like the transfers of Tate Martell and Justin Fields.

It’s completely believable that the people in charge of an organization as greedy and power-hungry as the NCAA would try as hard as they could to preserve the status quo.

They want to avoid having to actually pay the labor.

They want to keep lining their pockets with the hopes and dreams of young athletes who have no other realistic options if they wish to continue to play the sport they love, which sometimes can be their only ticket out of a troubled or disadvantaged background.

So what’s the solution? Let them go.

Let players transfer wherever they want, whenever they want. If a school will have them, a player should have the right to leave where they are and go there, regardless of how angry it makes their coaches.

This would obviously change how coaches interact with players and make it so that big schools can pluck players from smaller ones once they’ve developed.

Who cares? If you don’t like it, sign the players to a contract and actually pay them.

I have a scholarship and get paid through the student newspaper. I’m also able to transfer whenever I want, wherever I want, without having to beg my adviser or editor to release me from my scholarship. That’s something that the athletes who I make money to cover are unable to do without penalty.

I love college sports, particularly college football. The highlight of most years for me is waking up on fall Saturdays to watch College Gameday on ESPN, seeing the day’s games on the screen, maybe attending a WKU game.

I love seeing all the pomp and circumstance that goes into something as trivial as a football game that makes it seem like life or death for so many fans.

These new rules aren’t going to keep me from watching and probably won’t even hamper my enjoyment of the countless college sporting events. I will never argue that injustices like the ones perpetuated by the NCAA are going to keep me from partaking of their product.

But maybe it should. It’s moments like this where I question what it would take to get me to turn off the TV, to stop attending games, to give up this thing that I love.

Are we complicit in an injustice? I’m not sure I want to know the true answer.

News Editor and sports columnist Matt Stahl can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @mattstahl97.