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It’s time for the NCAA to address the rise of transfers in college basketball

Nov 15, 2012, 9:07 PM EDT

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Brian A. Shactman is a reporter for CNBC and the host of the show CNBC SportsBiz, which can be seen on the NBC Sports Network. 

We all know college basketball is big business. Multi-billion dollar TV deals. Multi-million dollar coaches.

But the same is true for college football.

If that’s the case, then riddle me this: Why do twice as many basketball players transfer schools compared to football?

According to USA Today, 440 male players — or 10-percent of all Division I players — switched programs last year.

What’s more — over the last five years — why has the NCAA approved half of all the waivers, which mean the “student-athletes” can play without sitting out a season?

The answer: No one wants to stand in the way of NBA dreams.

So, let’s get this straight. Men’s basketball players only have to go to college for one year before going pro. And if that one year doesn’t set them up well for the NBA draft, the kids are pretty much free to try it again at another school.

“It’s dangerously approaching a free-agency type-system when guys can freely move wherever they want and get to play right away,” said Nicole Auerbach who researched the information for USA Today.

The NCAA did not respond to multiple requests for a comment. But we do know they are setting up a task force to look at the issue.

The numbers don’t lie. For some reason, there is a double standard when it comes to college basketball transfers.

The NCAA needs to make a decision. Either stop pretending and simply allow movement between schools, or enforce the process and make more players stay where they are and honor their scholarships.

We all know major college sports is big business. We also know that the people who profit LEAST are the athletes themselves. If the NCAA is not going to compensate athletes in revenue-generating sports, it should at least make decisions that best serve them — whatever they may be.

Because let’s be honest, it’s another 1-percent vs. 99-percent debate. Only 1-percent of transfers probably make the NBA – most likely, it’s less.

What are the other 99 supposed to do?

Brian A. Shactman hosts CNBC SportsBiz on the NBC Sports Network. He can be reached via Twitter @bshactman.

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