Notre Dame football will benefit from the ‘one-time’ transfer rule

Brian Kelly (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Brian Kelly (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Nothing is officially official yet, but it is unofficially official that next year there will be a one-time transfer rule in place for college football players. As part of the player’s rights movement, this must get done for the benefit of players, and Notre Dame football will certainly benefit from it as well.

The vote was set to take place this past January but was tabled until sometime in the future. However, the Supreme Court is going to be hearing the case for name and image likeness soon, and it’s expected that the NCAA loses in court.

This should open both NIL and the one-time transfer rule up over the summer. In essence, the NCAA is scared and praying it won’t happen, because any threat to the status quo scares them to death.

For those who don’t know what the one-time transfer rule refers to, it essentially means that a player can transfer one time throughout their career without needing to sit out for the next season, as is traditional. The thought process on this was that players needed to sit out a year to adjust to their new school, but as freshmen are making a bigger leap, it seems like that thought process isn’t implemented throughout the sport.

The result has been that transfers are punished for transferring, and discouraged from doing so.

The issue with all of that is that a lot of players are looking to leave a bad situation. The reality is coaches lie during recruitment. Not everyone fits on the first campus they go to as a student. There are external factors that can cause transfers too, like having sick family members.

So, why should they be punished?

Obviously, they shouldn’t, but with the lack of consistency to transfer waivers being given out by the NCAA, it’s time to allow everyone to transfer once without penalty. After all, regular students can transfer without penalty, why shouldn’t “student-athletes?”

Detractors, such as Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey, say that this would amount to free agency, which couldn’t be further from the truth. To start with, teams can only take in 25 new players, freshman or transfer, a season.

This isn’t changing, which limits how many players can transfer.

Secondly, the availability of transfers will force coaches to approach the culture around their team differently, and make players want to be around longer. Instead of being a totalitarian, they may need to be a diplomat. Instead of stockpiling recruiting talent, they may need to be more precise in high school recruitment.

That’s fine for the sport. It’s just more work for millionaire coaches.

The truth is that most detractors of this rule are older coaches who don’t understand the desire for a change and don’t want to adapt themselves. It’s a continuing of arguing in their own self-interest and not that of the athletes.

Recognize now, the one-time transfer is coming. It could easily work to Notre Dame’s benefit, as long as Brian Kelly and the coaching staff embraces the rule.

How Notre Dame football can benefit from the one-time transfer rule

Notre Dame remains a destination for football talent. As long as the Irish recruit talent who wants to be in South Bend, and fits the roster, there will be very few transfers of note. The transfers that do pop up will be like the ones that already come up all the time.

Michael Young wasn’t seeing the field, so he transferred to Cincinnati where they needed wide receivers. That’s still going to happen, and it isn’t going to hurt Notre Dame, because if they were good enough to be on the field, they would have been.

So, unless the staff has cultural issues or brings in the wrong players, there won’t be more players than normal leaving.

This will, however, let Notre Dame, and any program that looks at the rule this way, fill immediate needs with players who have college experience. Notre Dame is bringing in Jack Coan, a graduate transfer who can play right away because they need to replace Ian Book and don’t have anyone else who is ready for the role yet.

All the one-time transfer rule would do is open up the number of players you can count on to be available right away.

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Remember, for every high-level player going down a level a talented lower level player is looking to prove they can compete at the highest level. Transfers don’t hurt anyone unless you let them hurt your program. Take advantage of the changing winds in the sport, and embrace the one-time transfer rule.

For Notre Dame, it could help take them to the next level on the football field.