Bob Huggins is Dead Wrong

On a recent episode of “The World’s Greatest Podcast with Seth Greenberg and Dan Dakich, West Virginia Head Coach Bob Huggins called the proposed one-time transfer rule a “disaster.”

The one-time immediate transfer rule, to be clear, proposes that student athletes must meet four benchmarks to transfer and play immediately: (1) receive a release from their previous school; (2) leave their previous school academically eligible; (3) maintain their academic progress at their new school; and (4) leave under no disciplinary suspension.

Fair enough?  Not to many (most?) college coaches.  Coaches argue that this is the beginning of free agency and will lead to instability in college sports.  They believe that if a student athlete commits to a school, he/she should uphold their commitment with the program or be penalized if they want to leave early.  This, of course, is great for college coaches, who can run their program like a dictatorship and can lock (trap?) players into a four year commitment.

However, it’s impossible to argue that this is what’s best for young men and women.  Bob Huggins argued on the podcast, “We have a lot of people making decisions for us that don’t have a clue what we do.  I’m old enough, I’m 66 years old, I don’t care.  They used to say they’d come and get you…well, come and get me.  It’s ridiculous that we let people make decisions about what’s good for the sport, what’s good for our kids.  You know, this one time transfer thing is a disaster.”

What Huggins didn’t elaborate on is why it’s bad for student athletes.  18-22 year olds have no idea what they really want and locking them into a four year commitment is insane.  Universities make millions and millions of dollars on these young people and not giving them the freedom to transfer if they are unhappy is simply counterproductive.

According to Tom Mars, attorney and advocate for college athletes, “Every rationale for making transferring players sit out a year has been thoroughly discredited, leaving only a few millionaire head coaches to whine about roster management.”

Yes, it makes putting together a roster more challenging for head coaches, but the pros for college athletes far outweigh the cons for coaches.  If anything is a “complete disaster”, it’s the current waiver process in college sports.  Waivers seemingly granted or denied randomly is what’s wrong with transfers in college sports.

The new proposed rules makes everything clear-cut and transparent.  If a student athlete is academically eligible and didn’t leave under any disciplinary action, they can transfer and play immediately. It doesn’t get any easier or more fair for student athletes than that.

While big rule changes like this are hard for old school coaches like Bob Huggins to swallow, they are not only inevitable, they are what’s most fair.  Huggins is one of the most intelligent coaches in college basketball today, but he couldn’t be more wrong on his current stance on the proposed one-time immediate transfer rule.