Matt Mooney is living his dream playing in a Final Four, but he wouldn’t be in this position if the NCAA had already passed a rule it will be considering later this month.
The proposed change to the graduate-transfer rule would put colleges on the hook for a two-year scholarship commitment, instead of just one season. The program would be docked a scholarship the next year if the grad transfer does not earn his secondary degree within a year.
“I’m not going to finish mine in a year,” the Texas Tech senior guard said. “I don’t know how many graduate degrees you can finish in a year.”
If the rule passes, programs would not be able to fit a grad transfer into their plans as easily as so many do now.
Grad transfers can be gold in recruiting. They don’t have to sit out a year like typical transfers, and they avoid the headache of going through the NCAA’s waiver process. Grad transfers can immediately impact a team, with their experience and opportunity to provide leadership.
Two of the most notable grad transfers in the country for the 2018-19 season were Minneapolis natives and former DeLaSalle standouts Geno Crandall (North Dakota) and Reid Travis (Stanford), who fell just short of their goal to play for a national title in their hometown with Gonzaga and Kentucky, respectively.
Texas Tech’s run to the Final Four was aided by grad transfers Mooney from South Dakota and Tariq Owens from St. John’s.
Mooney, who is getting his master’s in interdisciplinary studies, said Owens, like him, won’t be finishing up his grad program this year, but they’ll only use up a scholarship for one year under current NCAA rules. That could change in the near future.
The Division I council will vote on a proposal this month that would mandate grad transfers take up scholarships for two years or until they complete their master’s degree at the new school, according to the New York Times.
“Hopefully they can figure something out,” Mooney said, “because I do think the grad-transfer rule is beneficial for teams and players. It does hurt some midmajor teams that lose some guys, but I think it helps a lot more than it hurts.”
NCAA President Mark Emmert said at his Final Four news conference Thursday he wouldn’t be surprised if the graduate-transfer rule is revised.
“There’s been a lot of debate and discussion about whether there should be modifications of that rule,” Emmert said.
The proposal could become a rule as soon as Aug. 1. Besides men’s basketball, it would also cover football and women’s basketball.