The process has apparently begun to override a controversial piece of NCAA legislation that could significantly alter football rosters across the country.
Framed by its intent -- student-athlete welfare -- Proposal No. 2005-54 makes sense. Dropped on the desk of a I-A coach, it might be a curse.
|Cal's Tyler Krieg, a two-year starter at Duke, reportedly has taken advantage of the transfer rule. (Getty Images)|
The legislation states this rationale: "(Players) should be permitted to choose a graduate school that meets both his or her academic and athletic interests ..."
In other words, that fifth year of eligibility could be spent chasing greater football glory in the guise of grad school shopping.
Take the MAC school that spends four years developing a star quarterback. In his fifth year of eligibility, having graduated, the player finds out that, say, Michigan needs a quarterback.
Hello, Lloyd Carr and Michigan grad school.
"There is an organizing effort to overturn this," said Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association. "This is legislation that is not a good fit. It is of great concern."
To call for an override, at least 30 Division I presidents have to submit written requests to the NCAA by June 26. Then the NCAA Board of Directors will review the legislation. If at least 100 override votes are collected within 60 days after the board's next meeting, the issue then goes to the NCAA Convention in January, and the Division I membership votes.
Teaff did not go in detail on the override effort. It seems a large portion of his constituents are like West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez. They didn't know about the legislation.
"That would be a major disaster," the Mountaineers coach said when informed Friday of the legislation, almost a month after it was approved by the board on April 27. "How can they pass it that quickly without anybody knowing about it?"
Ignorance to the legislation isn't an excuse. It has been in the pipeline for almost a year, according to information provided by the NCAA. The NCAA's Academics/Eligibility/Compliance Cabinet recommended approval last June 3.
The Management Council reviewed it in January. The NCAA board voted 13-4 to adopt it last month.
"I have not sensed a backlash on this," said Jacqueline Blackett, chairman of the compliance cabinet and an associate athletic director at Columbia.
Here's the football argument that is just now emerging: Let's say, conservatively, there is at least one fifth-year senior headed to grad school on each I-A roster. Not all of them would be interested in transferring, obviously. But let's just take the 56 non-BCS schools that have spent four years feeding, clothing and coaching those players.
That's potentially 56 players who could jump to larger BCS conference programs without impunity.
"Kids would say, 'I want to go (to another school) and go to a bowl my senior year,'" Rodriguez said.
Players still have to be released from their scholarships by their coaches in order to transfer. If a player isn't released, he can appeal. Would it matter?
Remember, this student-athlete welfare legislation. Before a group of what are typically faculty reps and school officials, a player could state he wants to find a better graduate school.
Who would deny that appeal?
"(Coaches) don't trust each other," said a Big Ten school compliance official who did not want to be identified. "I see both sides of it, frankly. Why are they up in arms about it? We've got to do what's best for the student-athlete."
"It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out," said Brian Lutz, Toledo's compliance director. "It's the potential of bigger schools cherry-picking smaller schools. It's not something that happens a lot."
Cal's Tyler Krieg is believed to be one of the first I-A football players to take advantage of the rule. A two-year starter at Duke, Krieg recently transferred to Berkeley. He earned his political science degree this month from Duke and will seek a master's degree in education at Cal.
The legislation states that the 60-person compliance cabinet unanimously supported 2005-54. But SportsLine.com seemed to find at least one member of the cabinet who was against the legislation.
"I am not for these transfers," Houston athletic director Dave Maggard said. "(But) I don't think there's going to be many that transfers. ... There are a whole bunch of things students like to do. Just because a student wants something doesn't mean they should get it."