The Associated Press and other media outlets including Sports Illustrated are reporting that the NCAA's Division 1 council voted in favor of adopting a long-rumored new rule that will allow student athletes to transfer one time as undergrads without sitting out a season. Previously athletes in football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and men's ice hockey were forced to sit out a year after transferring. This restricted player movement in college athletics.
Missouri head men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin spoke with media members on Wednesday just hours before the Division 1 Council passed the new exemption. Martin expressed support for the new rule.
"We knew the transfer thing was coming for a year and a half," said Martin, who shared some of the concerns coaches discussed on a recent phone call with members of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
"I think most coaches on the call really talked about even guys leaving our programs making sure they're doing the right things."
Martin said it is important for coaches to treat players respectfully regardless of their decisions as student athletes in the sport of basketball experience more freedom to move from program to program.
"It's not like if a guy is leaving our program that we don't want him to be successful," said Martin. "You still want him to get what he's supposed to get as far as make sure you're on-pace to graduate, make sure you have all these opportunities. That doesn't stop. I don't know about everybody else but I'm not sure how you can be in a relationship with somebody over the course of time and all of a sudden you just cut it off."
Martin and other coaches did express concern regarding timing of transfers. Martin felt it was important for the NCAA to include a deadline for players to declare an intent to transfer each year and the Division 1 council did just that. Fall and Winter sport athletes will need to notify their schools by May 1 if they want to transfer for the next season. Spring sport athletes will have a July 1 deadline. Due to the COVID Pandemic this year's transfer notification deadline for all athletes will be July 1, 2021. Martin fears that could be problematic until the standard deadlines go into effect in 2022.
"All of a sudden you get all of your guys here in June, you're working out and all of a sudden, 'man that was tougher than I thought. Now I'm thinking about transfering'," said Martin. "Well you can transfer before July hits. So you have those issues right now so I think those things need to be addressed."
While some are concerned that the new exemption rule will lead to "free agency" in college basketball, Martin disagrees.
"It's a one-time transfer," said Martin. "You have one time to transfer to go play immediately. I think it's exciting. And I really don't think there's anything wrong with it. I just think it's just for each individual player because you have the right so you're not breaking any laws (rules)."
"I'd just say to young men, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons," continued Martin. "Find a place that you want to go play and play however you want to play and do that but still work towards your degree or masters or whatever that is. Work towards that because like we always say there's life after basketball."