College Sports

‘It’s just completely out of control.’ Big 12’s Bowlsby rips NCAA’s waiver process

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Count Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby among those who believe the NCAA needs to overhaul its transfer and waiver policies.

Bowlsby ripped the number of immediate eligibility waivers being obtained by student athletes, saying the system is not working well. The transfer portal has essentially become free agency for college athletics.

“We’ve certainly lost our way from the standpoint of the waiver process,” Bowlsby said at Big 12 basketball media day on Wednesday.

“It’s just completely out of control. If we don’t fix anything else, we need to fix the waiver process.”

Bowlsby is a strong proponent of making transfers, including graduate, sit out a full season. He doesn’t feel there are strong enough reasons to grant immediate eligibility in most cases.

“It’s a good thing academically to have a year of transition,” Bowlsby said. “Plus most of the waivers, they come and say, ‘I have a sick grandmother or I’ve got a little brother to take care of.’ The fact is, not competing for a year might be exactly the best way to take care of them.

“Personally, I think everybody who transfers ought to sit. It’s the most sound academically and it’s the fairest from a competitive standpoint. But we’ll see.”

A counter argument often brought up is that coaches don’t have to sit out a season when they leave for another job, so why should players?

“Coaches are employees. Student athletes are not,” Bowlsby said. “Coaches have many decades invested. Student athletes do not. It’s not a fair comparison.”

Bowlsby said the volume of players transferring is not a good trend for college sports, but “until we do something to change it, it is what it is.”

In other transfer news, Bowlsby said the league is discussing a policy about players who transfer within the conference.

Oklahoma looked at possibly blocking Austin Kendall from playing at West Virginia this season, and Kansas State considered doing the same when Alex Delton transferred to TCU.

If either school would have followed through and prevented their former players from playing, it likely would’ve created backlash for the conference. The SEC, for instance, has a policy where players are allowed to transfer within conference without penalty from the former school.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations along those lines,” Bowlsby said. “I’m not prepared to characterize where it is but spent a lot of time talking about it.”

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