In what ESPN’s Mike Greenberg described as “another outrage in the NCAA,” Florida International University (FIU) has denied basketball player Dominque Ferguson permission to contact other schools regarding a potential transfer. Ferguson reportedly appealed the denial, but his appeal was unsuccessful.
Ferguson sought to leave FIU for a number of reasons, including the departure of his coach, Isiah Thomas. Although the NCAA and colleges cling to the notion that student-athletes choose a school, not a coach, that is not realistic. Coaches come and go, and schools should allow student-athletes the same freedom. After all, it is the players, and typically not the coaches, who are operating under one-year contracts.
In a post entitled “Advocating Change of NCAA Transfer Rules“, I wrote as follows:
For undergraduates in baseball, basketball, football, and men’s ice hockey, the rule requiring student-athletes to spend a “year in residence” (sit out) after a transfer before being eligible is sufficient to prevent student-athletes from transferring without careful consideration. Moreover, a student-athlete has a short window to compete – typically 5 years to play 4 seasons. Why allow coaches and administrators, whose careers are unlimited in length, make decisions that affect the brief career of student-athletes, especially when those are driven by disputes (see Randy Edsall and Vanderbilt) that have nothing to do with the student-athlete?
Warren Zola also published an excellent piece on this topic, entitled “I’m Begging you for Mercy”.
For more on NCAA transfer rules, see these Connecticut Sports Law articles: