Coaching Changes and NCAA Transfer Rules: Is the Current System Leaving Athletes Abandoned?

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(9 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 1, 2011, at 49.) This article addresses the current National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) transfer policy pertaining to Division I “revenue” sport student-athletes. It focuses on the problem of a head coach leaving a program after the student –athlete signs a National Letter of Intent. The article provides two examples: one of a prospective student-athlete and one of a current student-athlete. In both cases, their coaches left current jobs for new opportunities while still under contract. The article describes the NCAA, including its formation, its purported mission and role in intercollegiate athletics, its current structure and legislative process, and its conflict between promoting amateurism and earning revenue. It then analyzes the two contractual documents that govern the student-athletes’ rights as they relate to the current transfer policy. Next, the article considers arguments for and against the current transfer policy. The article analyzes the contractual documents governing the transfer policy and how student-athletes could use legal action to institute change. Finally, the article suggests a transfer system that is fair to both student-athletes and academic institutions.