SEC changes graduate transfer rule: NCAA should take notes

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The SEC voted to allow graduates who transfer within conference to play right away, no longer need coach’s permission.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban recently turned heads when he made comments about graduate transfers and blocking their ability to go to a school within the SEC.

The rule has been that a graduate transfer can play at another school, but the athlete needs permission from his/her head coach if they want to go to another SEC school. or else they have to sit out a season. Head coaches have freedom to say yes or no in this scenario.

Saban defended blocking several of his graduate’s transfers, saying it’s not his fault and the blame should be placed on the SEC.

Message received, coach. The SEC voted today to rescind that rule and allow graduate transfers to play immediately, no matter the school.

This is great news for players graduating and not wanting to spend their final year(s) of eligibility at the school they graduated from, for whatever reason. However, it’s but a small step in evening the totally uneven playing field when it comes to coaches versus players moving schools.

Under most circumstances, a head coach is allowed to pick up and leave a school whenever he chooses. Whether it’s for a better offer, or maybe to leave for his alma mater, it doesn’t matter. Coaches have total control over their futures.

This is not the case with athletes. Athletes need permission or special circumstances to play right away and in most cases end up sitting out a year. Even under those special circumstances, the school has to be willing to file a waiver on the athlete’s behalf.

It’s not fair. Coaches can recruit players and leave at the drop of a hat. These players commit to a coach as much as a university. Pulling the rug out from under them without giving them the ability to at least follow the coach and not have to sit out a season is not a level playing field.

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I’m not on board with just allowing players to leave at the drop of a hat, either. If you decide to transfer just before the season starts, or in the middle/end of that season, you shouldn’t get to play that year. But you also shouldn’t have to sit out the next season. There has to be the same rules for coaches and players and it’s beyond time we change that archaic rule.

Jeff Shull is the Site Expert for the Gig Em Gazette on FanSided. Follow him on Twitter, and be sure to follow the Gig Em Gazette on Facebook and Twitter.