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Opinion: New Transfer Portal Rule Is Ruining College Basketball

Photo Courtesy of Keith Srakocic/The Associated Press

Gone are the days of the NCAA having power over the players. Welcome to the new era of college basketball, where every player gets to move around freely. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely in support of player empowerment and believe players should be able to earn off of their name, image and likeness. However, the new transfer rule is getting out of hand.

The NCAA is expected to pass new legislation that would allow college athletes the ability to transfer to another school and play immediately without penalty or having to sit out a season. The Division I Council is meeting in mid-April to vote on the governance. So it’s not a done deal yet, but all signs point to it passing.

Under the current transfer rules, college athletes in five sports– baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, football and men’s ice hockey, need to sit out a season if they transfer, unless they receive a waiver. Recently, Syracuse Football’s Chris Bleich transferred from Florida and had to sit out a year, while SU Men’s Basketball’s Alan Griffin received a waiver and played immediately.

The new legislation looks good on paper. It seems like more player empowerment. It levels the playing field between those select five sports and all of the others. Plus, it logically makes sense. However, in actuality the new rule is ruining college basketball.

As of writing, there are 1,206 men’s college basketball players in the transfer portal, including three from Syracuse. It’s only April 6. There are already more players in the portal right now as there were all of last year and that number is only going to go up. There are 347 DI schools with a men’s basketball team, meaning an average of 3.5 players are transferring per program. That is ridiculous.

The new rule is changing college basketball into a pseudo-NBA. Instead of teams working together in the offseason to get better, players are now allowed to just give up on their team and try to find greener pastures. Instead of focusing on high school recruits and game planning for next season, coaches are turning into NBA general managers during free agency, attempting to lure players to their team.

The entire college basketball landscape is completely changed. Teams won’t look the same from year to year. There will be drastic changes and schools won’t be able to build their way up. One of the best parts about college basketball is the maturation of players and teams. Virginia has been so steady over the past couple years because players join the program as freshmen and usually don’t leave until they are seniors. That team comradery, that development, that specialness is now gone. And in its place is free agency galore. No more developing into a great team. Now, coaches better be darn good at recruiting or they’re going to fall behind.

As for the players, if you don’t like your situation, don’t worry about it. You can just leave and run away from the issue, instead of working hard and getting better through adversity. That’s not the best message to be sending to young adults.

Sure, the new rule gives more power to the players and is a part of the big shift in the NCAA landscape right now. I am all for player empowerment, but this new transfer rule is going to ruin college basketball.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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