Ryan Mallett Transfers, Abandoned By Current System
I feel bad for Ryan Mallett.
He made a four-year commitment to Lloyd Carr, just like Pat White made a four-year commitment to Rich Rodriguez.
Now both quarterbacks, along with numerous other players throughout the country, have had their careers drastically altered by the whims of a head coach, administration, or booster club.
We hold teenagers to a higher standard of commitment than the grown men and women who lead their teams and athletic departments. Michigan is free to force Carr into retirement. Rodriguez is free to break a newly-extended contract. Mallett is forced to stay, or transfer and sit out a year.
What if the same rule applied to coaches? Can you imagine an interim head coach handling a BCS conference program like Michigan for an entire season while the Wolverines wait a year for Rodriguez to clear transfer waivers?
Ann Arbor, how would you like your chances in Columbus in 2009 with a figure head on the sideline?
The brutal reality is that Mallett appears to be one of the top freshman signal callers in the country... and he'll never play for Rodriguez, who's already actively recruiting a quarterback who'll be a better fit for his spread offense.
The transfer rules are well-intentioned and necessary. But they're also in dire need of amendment.
If a head coach leaves a program or is terminated, players should be allowed to apply for a transfer without penalty. If a player needs to change schools for personal or academic reasons, he should be afforded the same opportunity.
You'll notice I'm not advocating a blanket policy whereby every Michigan and West Virginia football player would become a free agent next season.
The NCAA has a thorough vetting process for regulating redshirt seasons and additional years of eligibility. Transfer cases should be handled with the same appreciation for individual circumstances.
The NCAA has the power and the resources to ensure that transferring doesn't become a rampant problem in college football. That authority should also be used to ensure that players' careers are protected from overly-ambitious coaches and athletic departments.
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