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Tuesday Morning Brews: Detach

Where we’re going is not where we’ve been

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, folks. Welcome to Morning Brews. Today is going to be more like my in-season editions of the Brews, where I expound on a subject before concluding with a couple quick hitters from the world of Michigan sports. This morning I’m talking about the broader issues at play in the matter of Shea Patterson vs the NCAA, which will hopefully come to a resolution soon. Also this morning, we check in with wrestling and women’s basketball - who both notched wins this weekend.

Let’s get to it:

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-NCAA President Mark Emmert Press Conference Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

He still has to sit out though, right? No? Just the players? Cool.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that this offseason. It’s a common refrain on Twitter from players and sportswriters alike, criticizing the penalty that transfering players must pay in the form of a forfeited year of eligibility while coaches are able to hop from school to school all willy nilly. Michigan has experienced some of this recently, when Dan Enos spent 17 days as an assistant coach before jumping ship for Alabama.

There’s also the unresolved Shea Patterson question. The transfer QB has enrolled at Michigan, but it’s not clear if he and his fellow Ole Miss émigrés who transferred to other schools will receive waivers from the NCAA and be able to play this coming season. The consensus thinking seems to be that we’ll hear something in February, and perhaps early February at that. Which way will it go? I’m not sure.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that I totally buy the sentiment contained in the title above. I’m not one of those people who is going to advocate for free transfers, and paying players to boot. I think that a coach going to a new school and a player going to a new school are different in kind. Imagine a college basketball world where Kentucky not only bags the top recruits, but raids other schools for the best players from the prior season too. It would be madness, and not the March kind.

But with that being said, there are circumstances, which occur all too often, that work a manifestly unfair hardship on college players. For instance, if the coach that recruits a player leaves, that player should be allowed to transfer without penalty. If a player has familial circumstances that dictate they need to be closer to home, for instance if a parent falls ill with a grave, chronic illness, that player should be able to transfer without penalty. If a coach demonstrably lies in order to induce a player to sign with their school, that player should be able to transfer without penalty.

For Michigan, it’s this last example that is most salient because it’s essentially the argument of Shea Patterson and others in their quest for a transfer waiver. Will it work? I don’t know. I do know that many in the world of Michigan athletics are optimistic that it will, but forcing players to go through this appeal process every time one of the aforementioned circumstances exist equally works a hardship upon the players. Let’s face it, not everyone can afford to hire the attorneys and advisers necessary to successfully argue before the NCAA.

So what’s the answer? Well, the NCAA is reportedly considering some options - like eliminating the ability of schools and coaches to condition releases on players not going to certain schools. They’re also reportedly considering allowing players who have above a certain GPA to transfer freely. I don’t think either of those is the right resolution to this situation—I would institute a free transfer rule available to players in certain circumstances or something like one free transfer in a player’s career—but at least the NCAA is talking about doing something, which is an improvement.

What do you think? Should players be allowed to transfer freely? Weigh in by voting in the poll below and down in the comments.


Should players be allowed to transfer freely and without penalty?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Yes, let’s bring free agency—sans money—to college sports
    (18 votes)
  • 62%
    Yes, in certain circumstances
    (248 votes)
  • 21%
    Yes, once per career
    (86 votes)
  • 9%
    No, the status quo works
    (38 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (comment)
    (5 votes)
395 votes total Vote Now

Michigan wrestling defeated No. 4 Iowa this past weekend in dramatic fashion, winning the final four bouts of the match to upset the Hawkeyes 19-17. The win was No. 7 Michigan’s first in Iowa City since 2005, a drought spanning nine matches. It all came down to the final bout of the day, which saw the No. 2 and No. 3 heavyweights face off. Michigan’s Adam Coon came away with the 3-2 victory, sealing the win for the Wolverines. Michigan is now 8-2 (5-1) on the season, and in third place in the conference (both OSU and PSU also won this weekend, maintaining their perfect conference records). Michigan will be back in action on Friday against Nebraska.

Michigan women’s basketball stayed hot with a 80-59 win over Northwestern on Sunday. It was the Wolverines’ sixth win in a row, and head coach Kim Barnes Arico’s 400th win of her career (she’s won 130 at Michigan). Michigan jumped out to a 13-point lead after the first quarter and had little trouble for the rest of the game. The margin was nine at halftime, but had expanded to 16 points after three quarters. Michigan was led by the familiar duo of Katelynn Flaherty and Hallie Thome, who had 27 pts. and 25 pts. respectively. Michigan is now 19-4 (8-2) on the year and will be back in action against Purdue on Thursday. That game will be televised on BTN and it will begin at 8:00 p.m.