Athletes may dictate transfer choices

The NCAA is still trying to get its arms around the complexities of transfers, but the organization does seem headed toward solving one part of the riddle.

By perhaps as early as next season, athletes could be able to dictate what school they want to transfer to as opposed to seeking approval from their universities and coaches.

"It would be a situation where a kid would provide notice that he's transferring and wants to talk to these five schools, for example," Kevin Lennon, the NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs, told ESPN.com. "Schools can't say, we're giving you permission but not to these five schools. It's in the student's control more."

Lennon said the issue isn't entirely settled, but he expects it to discussed formerly with NCAA membership in the spring, with an eye for a formal change by this time next year.

The issue became a hot button last year when Wisconsin's Bo Ryan restricted Jarrod Uthoff from transferring to a host of schools, including every one in the Big Ten and ACC. Wisconsin later trimmed the list. Uthoff is currently at Iowa.

It would be a situation where a kid would provide notice that he's transferring and wants to talk to these five schools, for example. Schools can't say, we're giving you permission but not to these five schools. It's in the student's control more. ... Some things need to be tweaked, but the concept is the kid provides notice to the school instead of relying on the school to give permission.
Kevin Lennon, NCAA VPfor academic and membership affairs

"Some things need to be tweaked," Lennon said, "but the concept is the kid provides notice to the school instead of relying on the school to give permission."

Lennon said other transfer issues are far more complicated and that a group, chaired by America East commissioner Amy Huchthausen, had been formed to look at those rules.

According to the NCAA, 40 percent of college basketball players will switch schools during the course of their eligibility, a staggering number that has caught the eye of everyone within the sport.

But how to handle special and unique requests is equally difficult. Hardship waivers have made the most news but represent a small percentage of the requests.

Between July 2012 and June 2013, 62 requests were made and 32 were approved, Lennon said.

Other requests based on academic achievement -- if an athlete has graduated but has a year of eligibility left -- or APR/postseason punishments for schools are also being considered.

"We've had a lot of transfer rules pushed together," Lennon said. "We need to step back and look at them more holistically. We've found when we start to peel this back, there are some real challenges and complexities that exist."

There is less of a timetable for those decisions and changes. Lennon said he expects Huchthausen's group to share concepts with the membership this fall and try to gather a better consensus by spring.

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