Georgia Tech basketball coach Brian Gregory has a policy that restricts his players from transferring to another ACC school and one out-of-conference opponent … archrival UGA.
However, Gregory also told the AJC that if one of his players really wanted to transfer any school, including UGA, ultimately he “wouldn’t fight it.”
Additionally, Gregory spoke out against fellow coaches putting severe restrictions on transfer players – which has quickly become a controversial and hotly-debated topic in college athletics. You can read more about it here.
Georgia Tech has two players transferring from the program, guard Glen Rice Jr. and center Nate Hicks. Both will have to sit out one year if they transfer to another D1 school, or two years if they stay within conference due to the ACC’s strict transfer policy.
“Yes, that’s kind of our blanket policy,” Gregory told the AJC. “If any kid comes up to me and says ‘These are the schools’ and one is in the ACC, then I’ll explain the rule about ACC transfers and that usually eliminates the scenario immediately because no kid wants to sit out two years and lose a year of eligibility in the process.
“Probably with UGA, it’s the in-state rivalry thing and so forth. But I will be honest with you, if it ever got to a situation where a kid really wanted to go to a specific school, I wouldn’t fight it … I wouldn’t fight it.”
And if that specific school was UGA? “That’s a hypothetical situation that I would probably have to sit down and think more about. But … if that’s where a kid really wants to go, I wouldn’t fight it.”
Meanwhile, UGA coach Mark Fox has a blanket “open release” policy, allowing his players to transfer to any school, even rival SEC members and Georgia Tech.
When asked about Georgia Tech’s restriction against UGA, Fox replied, “Am I surprised to find that out? I don’t know. I mean … I don’t know if that surprises me or not. It probably doesn’t.”
Back to the main topic: There was a public backlash recently when Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan, along with football coaches Derek Dooley of Tennessee and Randy Edsall of Maryland, put severe restrictions on transfer players. After taking a PR beating, each of the three coaches eventually backed down from their original stances.
The court of public opinion appears to have very little tolerance for a coach that places out-of-conference restrictions (other than maybe an archrival), especially since the player is already automatically penalized by having to sit out one season, per NCAA transfer rules. There’s also very little sympathy for millionaire coaches because they can, without any real penalty, move freely from one college job to another.
It’s a touchy topic that’s not going away because NCAA data has determined 40-percent of college basketball players transfer at some point during their career.
“Sometimes you need a extreme case to bring light to the subject, and that’s what happened at Wisconsin,” Gregory said.
“I think common practice is to release kids to any school outside of their league and not to their rivals. I think that’s a practice now, in light of the recent situations, that has to be looked at. I think that a lot of coaches are going to probably change that common practice … that’s my belief, because these situations that have come up.
“I do think the ‘Why is a coach able to leave and players not’ discussion struck a pretty right-on nerve with the public. As negative as the coverage was regarding those restrictions on transfers, I think something good is going to come out of it because I think coaches are going to take a step back and re-evaluate how they handle the process.”
NCAA president Mark Emmert, aware of the transfer controversies, recently said that the transfer rules need to be reviewed to make sure they are fair to student-athletes.
Back to Georgia Tech: Gregory has both made and taken phone calls in order to help both of this year’s transfers. “With Nate Hicks, we even went as far as allowing a school to come in and have a visit, and also allow him to work out. We want to try to help him find the right fit for where he is going to school next.
“We’ve had three kids leave since I’ve been here, and my job with all three of them is to try to help as much as I can.”
What do transfer policies have to do with recruiting? On the surface, it seems very little. It would be fair to say that one of the last things a recruit is thinking about before signing a D1 scholarship is transfer policies. However, it is indeed in the back of the mind of every recruit – what if it doesn’t work out? More importantly for recruiting purposes, when a college coach puts what is deemed as an unfair restriction on a transfer player, it often projects the coach as being unreasonable, stubborn, illogical and difficult to deal with – all negatives for a coach’s overall image when he goes out and tries to recruit. It can be a losing PR battle for resistant coaches, especially since the transfer already has to sit out one season, per NCAA rules. I’d vote for a universal “open release” policy for any player to transfer to any school. Sitting out one season is a big enough penalty. Why do coaches, who can take a job at another school at a moment’s notice and leave his players behind, get to have so much control in this situation?
What is your opinion on this issue? Please post below.
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