NCAA Considering New Rules Which (Surprise!) Could have Little Benefit to Ole Miss

Presumably to remove ambiguities, curb arbitrary decision making, and add more contrast to current gray areas, the NCAA is looking to trim the fat on their quite dense rulebook. Last week an NCAA working group met to examine many current rules before releasing proposals to NCAA member schools for deliberation. Their goal is ultimately to "crack down on what the NCAA perceives as major threats to its principle of amateurism" while making legal certain issues which the NCAA considers either uninforceable or unreasonably illegal.

One major change could be the reestablishment of athlete-only dorms, featuring their own cafeterias or restaurants, which were phased out in the 1990's. Many argue that rising discipline issues among student athletes are a result of the coaches being less able to keep a watchful eye on their athletes. On the other hand, many feel that schools should not provide to student athletes services which aren't in some other comparable form available to all enrolled students.

Many of the changes proposed, as with much of the NCAA rulebook, deal with recruiting and attempt to clarify and adjust already written rules to make them more compatible in the information age. Restrictions on access to scouting video, rules governing what takes place during official visits, and rules concerning the conduct of coaches during the recruiting process are all being considered for change. Most interestingly, some in the NCAA would like to make it legal for coaches talk publicly about their recruits. This would certainly make press conferences interesting for those of us who follow recruiting. (Can you imagine Les Miles namedropping guys he's recruiting during post game pressers? Because I can.)

A proposed change which would be detremental to smaller schools or schools who aren't exactly winning games, such as Ole Miss, would be the implementation of a proposed change to allow transfers in all sports to immediately play by waiving the year-long residency requirement for transfer athletes.

Of all of the rules implemented and decisions rendered by the NCAA, the transfer waiting period was a rule I actually felt the NCAA got right. I do understand why the NCAA would be against a rule which discourages students from pursuing stated academic goals (key word: "stated"), but the intent of this rule never had anything to do with academics. It was written to keep certain schools, such as Ole Miss, from being used as farm systems for schools such as Alabama or LSU.

Imagine if this rule weren't in place. What would have stopped Brandon Bolden from transferring to LSU after his freshman year at Ole Miss? Would Terrico White have stayed in Oxford for three years if he had the opportunity to play for John Calipari at Memphis? Could Chris Warren have slipped down to Gainesville after his first couple of years? This rule change, like the strict limitations the SEC recently placed on oversigning, could realistically only benefit larger, more prominent athletics programs at the expense of their smaller counterparts.

If I had any say in any of this (which I don't, for good reason), I'd adamantly oppose the elimination of rules surrounding the year-long waiting period for athletes who transfer schools within their athletics division. It is one of the few NCAA rules which legitimately provides a fairer competitive environment in college athletics, which is the whole point of the NCAA anyway, right?

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