Evaluating the Pros and Cons of Transferring to an FCS School

Brad Washington@@theGURO15Correspondent IIAugust 17, 2012

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 01:  Michael Dyer #5 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates after defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks 16-13 at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Last Friday, the college football world was rocked with the announcement of Tyrann Mathieu being kicked off the LSU football team. In the spring, Michael Dyer was kicked off the Auburn football team after several run-ins with the law.

Obviously, reports of transferring to an FCS program seemed ideal for Mathieu and Dyer. A chance to start anew, focus on grades and evaluate the problems that landed you at a new school with an inferior football program.

But the good news is that Mathieu has elected to go and stay in rehab and elected to not go to school according to ESPN.

Dyer, also according to ESPN, has also elected to not to play this season and attend school in Arkansas. But transferring to an FCS school was on both players' radars.

On paper, it's an understandable alternate route for a troubled athlete to clear his head. But, what could be the pros and cons of a transfer to the FCS division or even lower?

Division One football is the toughest, most watched and most prestigious college sport in all of collegiate competition.

Each year, many football athletes excel among the expectations and succeed for their respective teams.

Whether it's performance excellence on the field, or performance as a student-athlete, many football players shine as they tackle the responsibilities that were granted to them as high-school recruits.


Of course, there are those that can't fulfill those promises that the coaches stipulate and sometimes they just have to leave to compete somewhere else.

Trouble with the law, excessive drug use and behavioral problems usually are kryptonite to a talented athlete. Once a coach reaches the end of his patience level with an athlete, usually it's over and the athlete has to find somewhere else to play.

For the pro of this scenario, the player could go, get his head cleared in a new environment and try to succeed on the football field for the upcoming season.

Getting your name out of the cross hairs the way Janoris Jenkins did makes transferring to a lower division of football a relaxing and beneficial decision.

Maybe the program wasn’t suited for the player and it’s not mentally for him. A player could react positively to less discipline or stricter discipline. But at the same time, the behavior problem needs to be addressed.

So for instance, if Mathieu did decide to transfer to an FCS school this fall, would that have really changed whatever behavioral problem he had?

Does the potential FCS coach really care about his well-being? Or does he just care about an increased chance to make the playoffs?

This particular topic should make anyone wonder and with that said, this will bring our subject to the cons. First, the troubled athlete gets to just move a step down and play immediately with no repercussions.


The former FBS player moves on without learning his lesson the way a player with a normal transfer to a FBS team would.

Additionally, a job will be lost once the former FBS transfer walks on campus. Possibly, a well-deserved player who spent all spring and summer fighting to win or keep his position will no longer have his spot.

So while it could be a grand idea on paper, there will always be a lower division player that will lose his job. What if that player who lost his job was one of the finest young men the coach has ever come across? No easy way to explain how status is now above humility.

In the bitter end, maybe an athlete is better off staying at his school or transferring to another FBS to get his grades, behavior and skills together. If that is done, he will have an equal opportunity to compete for a starting spot just as the next man does.

So transferring to FCS has its pros and cons. But maybe a rule change will better suit the college football landscape in the future