This is hard to argue with, and I’m not even going to try, because Bilas is right –
Step back from the ridiculous rhetoric in the transfer debate and go to the very foundation upon which this entire industry is said to be built. What does NCAA president Mark Emmert say every time the thought of athlete compensation is broached? He says, quite simply, “These are STUDENTS,” as if stating that simple phrase is dispositive of the issue. The NCAA says in word and deed that athletes are “students that just happen to be athletes” and “athletes are students to be treated like any other student.” Furthermore, the NCAA is quick to state that athletes are NOT employees. They are unpaid, amateur STUDENTS. That is the bedrock principle of the NCAA, and this analysis doesn’t even approach any of the NCAA’s “student-athlete welfare” rhetoric.
Well, if it is true that we are talking about students being treated like any other students, the NCAA’s transfer policy should be quite simple. Any athlete should be allowed to transfer at any time and accept all allowable aid from any school that will have him or her. The transferring athlete should be eligible to play immediately upon his or her full-time enrollment at the beginning of the next semester or quarter leading to the next full season after the transfer. There you go. Done.
Of course it won’t be that simple, because coaches and ADs are not going to like not having control over all of their athletes, but there really is no reason they should have that level of control. I’ve gone to college and worked in the real world for a long time, and I’ve never once been held to that kind of standard when chancing schools, or jobs. Why would an unpaid student be held to a different standard? Because we want them to play for our team as long as possible and not go to a rival?
That sounds a lot like professional sports before free agency, which was also deemed to be illegal, but at least those guys got paid.