Transfer Trouble Could Hit Sport Of Baseball

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

INDIANAPOLIS — If the dominoes continue to fall, NCAA Division I baseball players will be able to transfer and compete immediately at other Division I schools beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.

Serious consequences could result for the sport of baseball

Not only are many more transfers likely to take place as Division I baseball players jump from one school to another, but baseball’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) could tumble in the process which may ultimately cause administrators to look at cutting back the number of baseball games.

In addition, there is serious concern free agency for players will erupt by unscrupulous coaches who attempt to pilfer key players from other programs.

Over recruiting will undoubtedly take place as well.

These ugly scenarios actually unfolded in the past when baseball players were allowed to transfer from one Division I school to another and were immediately eligible.

Currently the new transfer rule is under consideration by the NCAA’s Transfer Waiver Working Group which is receiving membership feedback.

If the Transfer Waiver Working Group is comfortable making a formal recommendation to implement this change, it could be approved by the Division I Council during its April 23-24 meetings.

The criteria would change to allow approvals for first-time, 4-year transfers in all sports to complete immediately if they:

  • Receive a transfer release from their previous school.
  • Leave their previous school academically eligible.
  • Maintain their academic progress at the new school.
  • Leave under no disciplinary suspension.

Currently NCAA Division I baseball players can transfer at any time to another Division I school. However, that athlete may have to sit out from competition the first year at the new school unless he can meet an exception by the NCAA and receive a waiver.

Division I athletes who wish to transfer must inform their current school in writing.

The school then has two business days to enter the student’s name into the Transfer Portal which allows other schools to confirm that the student can be recruited.

“I would be surprised if it doesn’t pass,” said LSU Head Coach Paul Mainieri who has coached for 37 seasons at LSU, Notre Dame, Air Force and St. Thomas as he has won 1,455 games entering the 2020 season.

“The current transfer rule that NCAA Division I baseball utilizes was adopted for the 2007-2008 academic year. Prior to that, players could transfer and play immediately at other Division I schools.

“I remember when this change was being adopted that 27 percent of Division I baseball players transferred the year before. That is a quarter of rosters transferring to other schools.

“I am a firm believer that we are in the education business and am not sure we are sending the right message to student-athletes that as soon as they face the first bit of adversity, they can leave their current school and go to where the grass is greener.

“The grass isn’t always greener somewhere else. There is a lot to be said for youngsters being taught that hanging in there is important when times are tough as they fight through adversity. When they work hard and ultimately get the experience they want at the school they are at, it is fulfilling.

“I’m afraid it will become the wild, wild west once again where certain people will pilfer players from other schools.”

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