Several high-profile college basketball players, including Moussa Cisse and Woody Newton, have entered the NCAA’s transfer portal for the second time this spring, despite warnings from Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton that they may not be eligible to play next season due to new, stricter rules governing eligibility waivers. The rules were implemented last August to combat a surge in athletes transferring more than once and then being granted immediate eligibility waivers. However, some coaches worry that players will use mental health issues as a way to exploit the system and gain eligibility.
The NCAA has established stricter criteria for waivers, although coaches remain skeptical about the organization’s ability to enforce them. Some coaches believe that players will be instructed to meet with mental health professionals to set the groundwork for a potential waiver, which they argue makes light of mental health issues. Meanwhile, others worry that the potential for players to transfer more easily, as well as the rise of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) sponsorships, may lead to free agency in college sports each year.
There are also concerns about how transferring frequently affects students’ ability to graduate on time. Credits may not transfer from one school to another, and some degree programs require a certain number of credit hours to be completed at the same school to qualify for graduation. While some coaches believe that a coaching change should be added to the criteria list for waivers, the NCAA has stated that it will not take coaching changes into account. Overall, coaches are calling for the NCAA to be more vigilant in enforcing new rules to prevent exploitation of the eligibility waiver system.
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