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A transfer ‘epidemic’ in college basketball? Not exactly.

Jun 23, 2013, 7:42 PM EDT

With 450 players switching schools this offseason, the word “epidemic” has been thrown around in some circles. And it’s safe to say that college basketball coaches aren’t too thrilled with the increased number of transfers.

In a story by Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, Southern Illinois head coach Barry Hinson expressed his concern over high-major programs “poaching” the mid-major ranks for players capable of filling a void.

Players had begun to be recruited off their own campuses and were landing at more prestigious programs. And Hinson wanted NCAA officials to be aware. The practice, Hinson says, is one of the reasons for a record number of transfers over the previous two offseasons, and he’s not shy about using a one-word term for the trend.

“Poaching,” Hinson says.

“It’s already a mess,” he adds. “It’s just getting ready to be really bad for programs at the mid-major level.”

Also in the story expressing their concern over the number of transfers in college basketball were Kansas head coach Bill Self and Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber.

The current state of transfers in college basketball is a bit overblown, especially when considering the fact that according to a report from The Chronicle of Higher Education in February 2012 that one in three college students transfer before completing their college degree.

In college basketball, just over one player per team has announced his intentions to move from one program to another this offseason. And it should also be noted that some programs have multiple transfers thanks in large part to coaching changes.

The issue that should truly be of concern is the prospect of programs poaching players from another school. If there are cases of schools tampering with a player, then something should be done by the NCAA.

“If you think for one moment,” says Hinson, who worked on Self’s staff at KU from 2008 to 2012, “that there aren’t staff meetings (at major college programs) taking place in March and April that are bringing up, ‘Who are the best mid-major players out there and do they have the opportunity to graduate in three years?’ Then we are making ourselves look ignorant. That’s happening right now, a lot of places. And if you think for one moment that kids haven’t figured this out, it’s getting ready to be an issue for our level.”

Even with coaches lamenting the current climate, more than a few take advantage of the system and that will continue to be the case. And until there’s change in that regard, it’s a bit silly to use the word “epidemic” when discussing this era of transfers.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

  1. sportsbastard - Jun 23, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Looks like Self taught Hinson how to whine during his time at ku. Nice job leaning from the best whiner in the biz Barry.

  2. pastordarrylharris - Jun 23, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    Players are not just transferring to go higher profiles schools. The intense pressure to win and keep a job is causing coaches to make intentional roster changes, to replace players who haven’t “produced”, or weren’t recruited by them. Many coaches want their fate determined by the players they have recruited and invested the time in. Coaches leave at will, and players are left with one and done scholarships to compete against recruits the new coach has hand picked! Upper classmen are at a tremendous disadvantage because schools don’t want to invest in players with limited or restricted eligibility. The situation will continue until one year renewable scholarships are evaluated or modified and coaches are given reasonable opportunities to produce winning programs, especially at mid-major schools. High major “left-overs” are transferring to mid-majors for the opportunity to play. Only the top mid major players can transfer to high major programs. Sitting out a year is just an opportunity to graduate early and get stronger as you wait for you chance in the big time!

    • dudenny - Jun 24, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      Agree with your major points though from a different point of view — the playe’s.. Coach and school have the power here. They can not renew a scholarship thereby putting guy in positioon of having to transfer if he wants to continue playing. Doesn’t matter to the kid whether it’s a new coach wanting to get “his players” for year one or coach continuing at the same school. And the basketball establishment can prevent a player from transferring. The good news is that most coaches will help the player find a new school. Need system pothat’s fair to both coaches and players. NCAA will you address this problem?8

  3. bat42boy - Jun 23, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    What about the epidemic in coaching moves with no penalties involved. That’s where you should start the policing. The ones who lose the most are the student athletes. Just shows you how the greed for money has ruined college sports.

  4. imforbigblue - Jun 24, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Funny bill self just got one of the biggest transfer this off season but he thinks it’s a problem give me a break he’s one of the dirtest coaches out there

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