Just as Kentucky picked up a player from the graduate transfer market for a second straight offseason, we learn the NCAA may soon put restrictions on graduate transfers.
A new story in The New York Times says the NCAA will vote on whether or not to implement a new rule change that could penalize programs in men’s basketball, women’s basketball and football for taking in a grad transfer. The rule would take away a scholarship if a graduate transfer did not earn a secondary degree within one year:
In two weeks, the N.C.A.A.’s primary legislative body, the Division I Council, will vote on a measure that could severely restrict graduate transfers. The proposed rule change would require that colleges accepting graduate transfers be docked a scholarship the next year if the transfer does not earn his secondary degree within a year.
So as graduate transfers have continued to increase — there were 124 this season in men’s basketball, according to the website GradTransferTracker, including a handful who were key contributors on N.C.A.A. tournament teams — and as programs have found value in them as a quick fix that suits both team and player, the new rule is seeking to discourage them by effectively adding a tax on programs that accept such players. [The New York Times]
Of course this story comes out on the day Kentucky adds Nate Sestina, a graduate transfer from Bucknell, after benefiting from one year with Reid Travis, a graduate transfer out of Stanford. This weekend Texas Tech will chase the national title with two graduate transfers, Matt Mooney and Tariq Owens, in its starting lineup.
For what it’s worth, the story includes a 2016 quote from Coach Cal, saying, “If the kid gets his grad degree in one year, fine; if he doesn’t, you’ve got to use the scholarship for two years.”
The new rule would really only impact men’s basketball, and it would mean grad transfers better be completing that grad degree in one year.