What should the NCAA do about its transfer rules?

Published: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 @ 11:49 AM

A picture of a giant bracket projected on a hotel in Indianapolis during a recent NCAA tournament. (Getty Images)
Staff Writer
A picture of a giant bracket projected on a hotel in Indianapolis during a recent NCAA tournament. (Getty Images)(Staff Writer)

NCAA transfer rules are going to change. 

Exactly how and how much is still being determined. 

That was announced this week by the Division I Transfer Working Group, which met Monday and Tuesday in Indianapolis and now is seeking feedback on the types of changes that could be implemented. 

RELATED: Assessing Ohio State’s Big Ten title chances as Reds head to spring training

Two things are certain: The graduate-transfer rule is not going away, and some restrictions will remain in place. 

The group also identified two potential changes (via press release): 

— Allow students who meet specific, high-achieving academic benchmarks to play immediately after the first time they transfer during their college experience.

— Allow prospective student-athletes who have signed a National Letter of Intent to transfer and play immediately if a head coach leaves the school of the student’s choice, as well as under other exceptions already in the rulebook.

With the popularity of college sports in southwest Ohio, this obviously has the potential to be a hot-button issue. 

Dayton and Wright State men’s basketball both have “traditional” transfers playing important roles this season — Josh Cunningham for the Flyers and Cole Gentry for the Raiders.

So do both women’s teams. Fairmont grad Chelsea Welch leads the Raiders in scoring for the second straight season after transferring from Pitt, and Alex Harris is a starter for UD after starting her career at Penn State. 

All had to sit out a season after arriving on campus.

Archdeacon: Wright State’s Cole Gentry — ‘I decided to bet on myself’

WSU also lost a graduate transfer last summer when Mark Alstork opted to play his final season of eligibility at Illinois. 

Another Dayton native, Jaaron Simmons of Alter High School, is at Michigan this season after graduating from Ohio University, where he was a star for two years. 

(Both of them also transferred earlier in their careers, for what it’s worth.) 

Ohio State’s resurgence? A key reserve for the Buckeyes is Andrew Dakich, a graduate transfer from Michigan. 

Transfers are also of course a big deal in college football, where the frequency of players transferring out has increased at Ohio State as Urban Meyer has elevated the recruiting from top 10 to top two over the past six years. 

I happen to think some constraint on transfers should remain in place. 

The NCAA says transfers tend to have worse academic outcomes (obviously this is not the case for those who have already graduated before moving to a new school)), and too much player movement could hurt fan interest. 

Players should be allowed to do what is necessary to improve their situations. However, some incentive to encourage them to work it out where they are probably isn’t a bad thing. 

Obviously player welfare is the No. 1 priority, but fan interest is important because that’s the main source of all that expanding revenue that makes college athletics possible. 

Additionally, I’ve heard countless stories of players who were unhappy and wanted to transfer early in their careers before ultimately becoming success stories at their original school. That’s only natural given the stakes and the emotional time in students’ lives. Often cooler heads prevail, though not always of course. 

RELATED: Welch earns another Horizon League honor

Allowing immediate eligibility for players who want to transfer after their coach leaves or is fired (whether they are recruits or in school) is a no-brainer. 

Perhaps that could also bring some sanity to the coaching market, encouraging colleges to be more patient with coaches who aren’t immediate hits. More coaching stability would also be good for student-athletes who are happy where they are until the administrator screws it up by firing the coach. 

I’m not so sure about one-time Academic Transfer Get Out of Jail Free Card. 

Maintaining good grades is sort of an understood part of being eligible, right? And the graduate transfer exception already rewards players who take care of business in the classroom before their eligibility is up, so I’m not sure the situation is really screaming out for this change. 

It might just be a public relations bone to throw to those who prefer more radical changes than are apparently going to be considered. 

At any rate, it will be interesting to see what changes actually come about, especially since there are already concerns graduate transfers are hurting leagues like the Atlantic 10, Horizon and MAC by stripping them of some players who were recruited and developed at their schools only to strengthen the big boys. 

Making it easier for players to move up the ladder probably wouldn’t help, and that could be bad for the overall health of college athletics. 

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Collin Sexton’s work ethic forces Alabama coaches to turn out gym lights for him to leave

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 10:18 AM

Collin Sexton is one of the best players in the SEC and in the country, a potential lottery pick in this summer’s NBA draft.

But right now he’s doing all he can to lead the Crimson Tide to a strong finish in the SEC and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Although sometimes he may be working too hard, if that is such a thing. Alabama coach Avery Johnson loves Sexton’s drive to get better, but he also wants his start guard to get his rest.

In this video from Alex Byington of Times Daily, Johnson describes what he and his coaches sometimes feel like they have to do to get Sexton to take it easy.

“Here’s a kid we gotta basically to turn the lights out in the gym sometimes and say ‘go back to the dorm,'” Johnson says. “I love players like him that have that old-school mentality…He wants to live in the gym, and he’s driven, he’s passionate, he’s got big dreams.”

Currently sitting in sixth place in the SEC, Alabama (17-10, 8-6) looks to be in relatively good shape for the tournament with March approaching and four games left in the regular season.

The Crimson Tide next travel to Auburn to face the No. 12 Tigers on Wednesday night (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network ) in a crucial rivalry game. Alabama already beat Auburn this season but without Sexton.

The freshman and his work ethic will have to be an important part of a signature road victory this time around.

“Part of his dreams and goals is to help us maximize our potential this year,” Johnson says. “And I like it a lot. Sometimes I might have to turn him down a little bit, but that’s okay. I’d rather have it that way than to try to have to turn somebody up.”

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Major South Carolina recruiting target listed No. 1 in 2019

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 10:14 AM

Quavaris Crouch is the No. 1 player in the Class of 2019, according to the last batch of ratings and rankings from Rivals.

Crouch, who’s from Harding University High School in Charlotte, N.C., is listed by Rivals as a 6-foot-3, 222-pound athlete. Naturally, his ranking comes with a 5-star rating.

South Carolina is firmly in the mix for Crouch, along with several schools, including Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, North Carolina, Stanford and Tennessee.

The Gamecocks have hosted him for multiple visits over the years. Plus, one of his former teammates, 4-star offensive guard Jovaughn Gwyn, signed with Coach Will Muschamp in December.

Whether or not Crouch decides to follow Gwyn to Columbia remains to be seen. At this point, it would appear that Crouch is in no big rush to reach a conclusion. It’s also unclear whether or not he’ll sign in December or wait until the first Wednesday in February of 2019.

Those aren’t the only questions that remain for Crouch, who could play on either side of the ball. On offense, he’s a running back. As a defensive player, he profiles as an edge player.

As a junior, Crouch rushed for 3,283 yards and 33 touchdowns and was credited with 48 tackles and 14 sacks.

South Carolina recruiting targets

A handful of Gamecock targets were included on the latest Rivals 100 release. Where did everyone else end up?

  • 5-star WR Jadon Haselwood – No. 5 (Ellenwood, Ga.)
  • 5-star SDE Zacch Pickens – No. 16 (Anderson, S.C.)
  • 4-star OT Wanya Morris – No. 19 (Loganville, Ga.)
  • 4-star SDE Travon Walker – No. 40 (Thomaston, Ga.)

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WATCH: SEC Country Live, February 20

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 10:09 AM

SEC football news never stops. So join us for SEC Country Live every Monday-Thursday at 3 p.m. ET ! Host Brandon Adams and former Alabama All-American Mike Johnson break down everything you need to know in the SEC football world with news, analysis and so much more. Join the conversation on Facebook.com/SECCountry!

Watch on Facebook!

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Reds pitcher making strides with help from teammate

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 3:13 PM

Cody Reed’s obvious talents have yet to lead to major-league success.

That’s where fellow pitcher Michael Lorenzen enters the picture.

Lorenzen’s locker is a few feet from Reed’s and the two talk a lot. It appears Lorenzen has been able to turn the light switch on for Reed, who does not want to be remembered as the guy the Reds got for Johnny Cueto who didn’t produce.

“I never would have guessed,” Reed said, referring toLorenzen. “I love the way he plays. I love the way he thinks. He could give up nine runs in one inning or he could strike out nine in 27 pitches. You would never tell the difference the next day.

“I just listened to what he thinks about me. He looked at me and said, ‘How many left-handers are there that throw 95-96 with a slider like yours?’ I sat there for a second. He said, ‘No one. So what are you doing feeling sorry for yourself.’

“I was being bitter about everything. He got me off that.”

Lorenzen and Reed showed up in Goodyear in early January and worked on a throwing program together.

“It raised my confidence without me even knowing it,” Reed said. “We’ve been here playing catch and throwing bullpens. He would tell me that I had life on my fastball and he couldn’t see it until it got on top of him, little things like that to help me build confidence.”

Reed was frustrated by a lack of command. He experimented with different grips but his focus was more on the cerebral part of the game.

“I changed a lot about my mental aspects,” Reed said. “It wasn’t just baseball. It is life itself.”

However it occurred, Reed’s improvement has been noticeable to Reds manager Bryan Price.

“It is not just the way he threw off the mound,” Price said. “Every thing from his PFP (pitchers’ fielding practice) to his bunting. It is unusual to say something after a few days of workouts. Every facet of his game looks like it’s been enhanced over the course of the last four or five months.

“Cody Reed has been above and beyond where he finished the season last year.”

Reed, 24, one of four pitchers obtained from the Royals for Cueto in July 2105, is competing for a spot in the bullpen. Price left him off the list of four contenders for the fifth spot in the starting rotation but said the organization still views him as a starter.

“We won’t have enough innings for a lot of guys this spring,” Price said. “If he makes our team, he could help us more out of the bullpen. We don’t want him to be in long relief. If he makes the team, he’s going to pitch regularly in higher-leverage situations.”

Reed pitched at three minor-league levels in 2015 and made his major-league debut June 18, 2016 in Houston. He struck out nine that day in a no-decision. It was the most strikeouts in a Reds debut since Cueto struck out 10 in his first start. Reed’s 2016 season ended with back spasms Sept. 16. He had an 0-7 record and a 7.36 ERA in 10 starts.

Last season, the Memphis, Tennessee native was one of seven rookies to make the opening-day roster but spent most of the year at Triple-A Louisville. He made 20 starts there and returned to the Reds in September, making seven more appearances in relief. He finished 1-1 with a 5.09 ERA for Cincinnati.

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