As a few people have noted this summer, the topic of the year in college basketball has to be transfers. The process is a murky one with rules and hoops and waivers and coach control.
When NCAA President Mark Emmert talks about simplifying the rule book, well, here is a good place to start.
Doug Gottlieb (who appears to be jumping from ESPN to CBS; don't worry Doug, Scott Machado still has your number) took a shot at outlining a streamlined process a couple of weeks ago ($). I was slightly surprised at how reasonable it was.
But I would go a step further: make the process more transparent, set time lines on requests and close the loopholes.Doug has the right idea. Transferring needs to simpler. There can't be different rules for different situations.
Transferring shouldn't be a get out of jail free card. There has to be a consequence to the decision even if it is a necessary one.
So when Gottlieb recommends keeping the year off, and eliminating the "hardship" waiver and the graduation waiver, he is on the right track. And there is even a good argument for letting players be eligible immediately when a coach leaves or is fired. It is only fair, since many of these players don't pick their school based on ... well, the school.
But let's go further.
Let's set a time frame for declaring free agency. For a two-week period once the NCAA Tournament ends, let the transfer window open. During that two weeks, all players should have the opportunity to declare that they will transfer.
This at least eliminates the silly season that continues far too long. If you don't make your decision within that time frame, there is no leaving...unless your coach is fired or leaves after the two week window.
It might not be perfect but it might help to eliminate some of the tampering that goes on during the season. Make it so there is no contact allowed until after the paper is signed. And even then, keep the rules similar to what it is for recruits coming out of high school.
Second, set a signing deadline for transfers. Make it the second "National Signing Day" for basketball. This will only work out better for the coaches and the players.
Think about it. If the players have to make a decision on a time line, they will get into practice for the summer, they can't string coaches out all summer long, and the process could be done before the July recruiting window.
Everything gets sewn up nicely and there isn't this unknown roster issue hanging over coaches' heads.
And speaking of coaches, let's stop letting them decide where players can transfer. There were too many stories about transfers this year, from St. Joe's to Wisconsin. It is too much power for a coach to have.
After all, there are many reasons for transfers, not just clashes of personality. So stopping a player from being able to choose the school they want to attend is not a fair use of the power of a coach.
If a coach wants to leave, do the players have the ability to say they don't want a coach to go to a rival program? Even the schools themselves don't have that power, so why is is delegated to a coach.
Gottlieb was on the right track a few weeks ago. He just needed to go further. Here's hoping that Emmert will.