NCAA ponders new standard for transfers

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 16, 2013 - 12:13 PM

Under one proposal still being researched, student-athletes wouldn't have to sit out a year in four sports if they carry a 2.6 GPA.

hide

Max Shortell

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Former Gophers quarterback Max Shortell has a strong arm and good grades, but under current NCAA rules, he'll be ineligible to play for another top-division program next season after transferring from Minnesota.

In coming years, however, athletes with Shortell's grade-point average might not have the same restriction.

The NCAA is considering a rule change that would permit athletes to compete immediately for any school after transferring -- if they carry a 2.6 GPA or better. This is among many topics that will be discussed when the annual NCAA Convention opens Wednesday in Grapevine, Texas.

The transfer legislation is still in the early stages, but one timeline, published internally by the NCAA, suggests a proposal could be presented by the organization's Leadership Council to its Board of Directors by August. That means athletes could be able to transfer under the new rules by the fall of 2014.

"We're still collecting data, research and framing the issues," said Northeast Conference Commissioner Noreen Morris, who chairs the Leadership Council. "The NCAA staff came up with [the 2.6 GPA benchmark] as a concept, and said, 'Here's something you might want to think about.'"

The potential change has appeal for Shortell and other athletes seeking more freedom under NCAA rules. But coaches and administrators fear it could lead to a flurry of students transferring just to change teams.

"I assume it'd be like a free agent market, probably," Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith said. "That's [the NCAA's] big mantra now, to look out for the student-athletes. They already blame [coaches] for the transfers; I wonder who they're going to blame when the transferring doubles."

Athletes on the move

Student-athletes are allowed to transfer once and compete immediately in all sports except football, basketball, baseball and men's ice hockey. Those sports aren't given the exemption because studies show that when athletes from those sports transfer, they are far less likely to graduate.

But research also shows that athletes who transfer with a 2.6 GPA or above are just as likely to graduate as those who stay at their original school. That's why the NCAA picked 2.6 as the benchmark for its Academic Progress Report (APR). A program loses points toward its APR if a student transfers with a GPA below 2.6.

"We thought, should we think about somehow connecting that number to the transfer [eligibility] rules as well?" Morris said. "Is that the right number? We said we need more information."

Shortell's father, Dr. Tom Shortell, believes a better benchmark for the one-time exemption would be a 3.0 GPA. Max Shortell was an Academic All-Big Ten selection and carries a 3.3 GPA. Originally recruited by former Gophers coach Tim Brewster, Shortell stuck with his commitment after the university replaced Brewster with Jerry Kill in December of 2010.

Shortell started two games as a freshman in 2011 and three more as a sophomore but announced his plans to transfer in December, after Kill turned to freshman quarterback Philip Nelson to start the regular season's final six games.

To play right away next season, Shortell would have to transfer down at least to a Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) school. If Shortell could stay at the top level and transfer to a Football Bowl Subdivision school? Well, Texas is an example of a team reportedly looking for a quarterback who can transfer into the program and play right away.

"I'm not saying [Max] was interested in them, or they were interested in him, but they run a pro-style offense," Tom Shortell said. "They need a quarterback for next September, but Max has to lay out a year. Why is he punished for that? To me, the problem is these coaches can switch jobs at any time, and they don't really realize the ramifications this can have on the kids."

Process playing out

At this week's convention, a Leadership Council subcommittee is expected to review more transfer data and continue discussing potential changes. J.T. Bruett, the University of Minnesota's director of athletic compliance, anticipates a four- or five-month window during which the NCAA would seek feedback from coaches and administrators.

"The transfer procedures at the NCAA Division I level have been in place for quite a while," Bruett said. "So to all of a sudden do a reversal here and allow student-athletes [with a GPA of 2.6 or better] to transfer without penalty, that would be a significant change."

With looser transfer restrictions, lower-level schools could run the risk of becoming feeder programs for the NCAA's elite.

"That's one of our biggest concerns from the Northeast Conference," said Morris, whose league includes Monmouth and Farleigh Dickinson. "We recruit the student-athletes who may not have been recruited by a quote-unquote higher-level league. If we bring them in, develop them, and all of a sudden, other schools are interested, they may feel like they want to play big-time."

Of course, as North Dakota State athletic director Gene Taylor said, that already happens today, with transfers simply accepting they have to sit out one year, where applicable.

Taylor said he'd be nervous if athletes were free to transfer "carte blanche." But he added, "We're in this business for the student-athletes, and I think we do have rules where you scratch your head sometimes and say, 'That's not really fair.'"

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland - WP: J. Tomlin 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: S. Downs 2
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 13
Los Angeles - LP: J. Wright 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 3
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: Y. Herrera 2
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
San Jose 1
Portland 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close