Pending NCAA Immediate Transfer Rule Would Benefit Richard Pitino, Even If He Doesn’t See It Yet…

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One of the most groundbreaking (and necessary) rule changes in NCAA history is on the horizon. A rule applying only to major NCAA sports, that straps college athletes to a college campus no matter the circumstances of most situations, seems as good as dead.

That’s right. The 1-year ineligibility rule for NCAA transfers, that college sports fans are so used to, only applies to Football, Basketball, Football and Men’s Ice Hockey. All non-major college sports are allowed to transfer one time without sitting out at all.

It’s finally becoming clear that one-time immediate eligibility upon transferring, is the imminent future for major college sports too. This move is the right thing to do and the best thing to happen inside of college sports for a long time, no matter what many coaches around the nation are saying.

It surprises nobody, that coaches are reportedly “worried” or “concerned” about this new rule. Our very own Richard Pitino stated his concern yesterday on his radio show.

Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino said Tuesday on his radio show that he isn’t sure the change will help his game, citing “chaos on rosters.” He imagined a scenario in which a team loses and gains three or four transfers in a season.

“Teams are just not going to be as good, because it takes time to develop these guys,” Pitino said. “It’s concerning, but I’m not critical of it. It’s probably the right move to continue to provide things for the student-athletes. But it’s going to be very, very difficult for all of us.”

Ralph Russo – AP | Marcus Fuller – Star Tribune also contributed

First, I don’t really care about how the coaches feel. This is the right thing to do. Kids commit to coaches, who then up and leave or get fired days later, sometimes. Unless you are going to force coaches and schools to fully-honor contracts (which will never happen), you can’t force penalties on players who want to get out because life isn’t what they thought or were sold.

Sure, the NCAA grants some immediately eligible transfer waivers now, in certain situations, but if a dying grandfather in the state you want to transfer to isn’t good enough reason for immediate eligibility.. then what is a good reason?

Again, these comments from coaches aren’t surprising, but while big time changes will absolutely cause chaos for many programs and coaches around the country, it will also benefit others.

I foresee honest coaches who recruit the right way, as big time beneficiaries of this rule change. Coaches and assistants who go in and speak the truth to these recruits, and show transparency about what they are doing throughout the process, will shine.

It’s no longer about just getting a kid to sign on the dotted line. Once on campus, you now need to keep the athletes you recruit. Coaches and recruiters can’t say one thing, then show another once these kids arrive.

We all know there are some shady coaches and programs out there, that will most literally do or say anything for top recruits. Those recruiters are in big trouble with this new pending change.

If you’ve gotten to know Richard Pitino through his interviews and twitter account like I have over the last handful of years, he’s a hard guy not to like. He’s down to earth, honest, overly sarcastic and funny (especially to middle-aged men like me).

He’s the best coach to follow on Twitter (his dad is second), but he’s been far from the best when it comes to keeping top in-state talent… which we’ve covered at MSF in exhaustive fashion over the years.

I’ve always wondered if this weakness is driven by a refusal to lay out the red carpet and over-the-top pander, to 15-18 year old kids… no matter what the circumstances. Pitino just doesn’t seem like the type of coach or recruiter who is going to do that. Even when on the radio or asked questions by media, Pitino is often too honest for his own liking, much like Mike Zimmer over at TCO.

When recruits ask him about foreseen roles on his team or he is texting back and forth, what do those conversations look like vs other coaches interacting with these athletes? Marcus Carr might be the perfect example for my thought process behind this.

Carr was courted by Pitino before he committed to Pittsburgh and played there his Freshman year. His coach was fired after that season, with only two seasons under his coaching belt. Word of consternation throughout the Pittsburgh program swirled when Marcus entered the transfer portal. In fact, Pitino thought he’d be eligible last season, until his waiver was denied.

Where did Carr turn, when things didn’t end up the way they seemed at Pitt? He went back to Richard. The only transfer-out during Pitino’s tenure that turned any heads, was Isaiah Washington. Even he stayed way longer than anyone expected, as a top recruit who landed on the bench and struggled for two years, with 100’s of thousands of social media followers asking him why, and blaming Pitino.

Look at what Pitino did for Jarvis Johnson or the state of Eric Curry’s mental health, even given his injury riddled career. Say what you want about who Pitino gets into the door… because once here, kids play for Richard and seem to like it here.

So as much as Little Richard might worry about this possible rule change, it’s just a matter of time before he realizes it will make his recruiting, coaching, and relationship styles better….. as long as he is still on campus to see the rule change out.

The Gopher basketball team is back tonight, at home vs Indiana. They need to pile up 5 (maybe 6) victories over the next 6 games, in order to sit in the dancing field of 68 before B1G Tournament play begins (via Jerry Palm) .

If Pitino misses the NCAA Tournament, many fans and alumni will be calling for his job. I think Mark Coyle likes Richard, as if he hired him himself, but that may not be enough to save Richard’s job if the Gophers are throwing up shots in the NIT, instead of NCAA Tournament, come mid-March…

Lastly, I just want to bow to Jay Bilas. This man deserves a Nobel Prize for what he’s done, in bringing to light all of these overdue changes in college sports.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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