by STEVEN GEHEGAN//Editoral Assistant
The world of college athletics is changing fast, one lawsuit at a time.
John Vassar, a former Northwestern University basketball player, is claiming that Northwestern harassed him into transferring to free up his scholarship. Vassar is also using a class action lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association seeking to change the transfer rules. They are claiming that the rule violates anti-trust laws by forcing players to sit out a season if they transfer to another school, unless the player has already graduated and has eligibility left.
This is not the first lawsuit filed against the NCAA, as a former football player from Weber State University, located in Ogden, Utah, and Devin Pugh, a former football player from Northern Illinois University, are claiming the same thing. While it remains to be seen what the court will do with these lawsuits, the one thing that needs to happen is that the transfer rule needs to change.
There are issues with this rule that penalizes student athletes for making a mistake because they might have happened to make the wrong choice of a college. We are asking young adults to make a decision that will have a major impact on their lives. And we all know that there are many things that the college sells them on that might not be very truthful, or just happens to change overt time.
That can include a player getting hurt, or losing playing time to another player who might be better. It does not mean that the player cannot play the sport. It just means he or she might need to go to a conference with less talented players. Or maybe a good player from a real small college wants to transfer to try to get noticed by a professional league that he or she is trying to get into.
There are, of course, people who are opposed to the rule stating that the colleges are committed to the player, so the player should be committed to the college. Now if that was always the case, the rule would be fine. But it is not. There are coaches who think transferring from the team is quitting on the team. Or is it that the team quit on the player? It just seems wrong that coaches love to preach about being loyal to the team when they are looking for another job that pays them more during the off-season.
When a coach changes colleges, it can completely change a player’s life. Most players seem very committed to their coach. When the new coach gets there, how is a player supposed to trust him or her, when they were never sold on that person leading the team. What is the player supposed to do if they do not believe in the new coach, transfer away and have to lose a year of playing time, or stay somewhere where things have completely changed? Coaches get congratulated for making more money by moving to a new job, while the athlete is looked down on for quitting and moving to a new team.
With all the things that change in our world, why are young adults, most under the age of 22, being forced to stick by a choice that was made when they were even younger than that? The rule needs to change. If coaches can leave, so can the players.