On Feb. 17, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced its support of an NCAA proposal to allow a one-time transfer opportunity for all student-athletes, regardless of sport.
The league came to this conclusion earlier this month during its winter meetings in Greensboro, North Carolina. After his firm statements following Wednesday’s first day of spring practice, it is obvious Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was not asked for his opinion.
Unlike the ACC, Swinney does not support the proposal and said it would be bad for college football if it is passed.
“There needs to be some change, I don’t like whatever has been proposed. I don’t think that is good,” he said. “I don’t think it’s good for the player. I don’t think it is good for college football, but I do think there needs to be some changes.”
The ACC is the second Power 5 Conference to say it supports a one-time transfer opportunity. Last year, the Big Ten came out with a similar proposal to the NCAA. Thus far, the NCAA has not acted on the ideas, but with the ACC lending its support to the idea, this movement is sure to make its rounds through all the league meetings the rest of the winter and spring.
The one-time transfer proposal would allow a student-athlete to leave his or her school for any school in the country, at any time, without having to sit out a season. Volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer are the only sports that do not require a student-athlete to sit out a year. Of course, graduate students can transfer to another school without having to sit out.
“I do think there needs to be some change,” Swinney said. “I think some of the rules are archaic and things like that, but nobody called me and asked me.”
Swinney is glad there are no more restrictions on where a player can attend school. He believes a student athlete should have always been able to go where they want to go. He also as no issues with graduate students going wherever they want to go.
The Clemson coach also believes if a player’s head coach is fired or leaves then the student-athlete should be able to transfer if they want.
“I believe that,” Swinney said. “But other than that, I think, if you transfer, you sit. It’s as simple as that, but if you graduate you get that year back, so you really don’t lose anything. At least it would slow down what is going to happen.
“What is kind of going on now with the graduates is going to go to the freshmen. It’s going to go to the mid-years and the sophomores. That’s not good for college football and that is not good for the players. But, to me, that would clean it up and cut out some of the hypocrisy of it, too.”
Swinney worries it would cause other teams to tamper with or try to recruit a player who is disgruntled and maybe isn’t happy about playing time.
“It is not going to hurt Clemson, but it is going to hurt a lot of other people, but I think that would be a good way to clean it up,” he said. “Then again, nobody asked me my opinion, so it doesn’t really matter what I think.
“But if the objective is to change to where everyone can just go wherever they want to because the coaches can, then why is it a one-time transfer? Coaches can live this year, next year … why can’t you leave every year, you know? I think the intent is really good. I think there needs to be some really good common-sense change to address the issue, but I don’t like what is on the table right now, but it does not really matter what I like.”
As for the ACC’s stance on the one-time transfer proposal, Swinney said no one from the conference came and asked him about it.
“I heard about it just like everybody else. I read it,” he said.
“Nothing surprises me,” he continued when asked if he was surprised the ACC did not get the opinion of its coaches before announcing it support for the rule publicly.
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