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Coach K on transfers: ‘There should be no exceptions … I think it’s a farce’

Sep 16, 2013, 11:58 AM EDT

Mike Krzyzewski AP

September marks the beginning of college basketball season this year, as teams are now allowed to being practice on the 27th of this month.

But it also happens to be just about as dead as the offseason gets for college hoops. The news coming out is limited, and all anyone cares about is football, fantasy and otherwise. I’m not immune, either; I spent Sunday mulling over what to do about the fact that I drafted Eddie Lacy in all of my leagues.

Anyway, it seems like every offseason, there is one point of contention that gets railed on incessantly. For college football, it was the idea of amateurism, its flaws, and the role that Johnny Football can play in changing it.

On the basketball side of things, the topic of transfers has been a recurring theme that we all seem to be sick of arguing about but that we just can’t get enough of. It doesn’t help matters that on a seemingly weekly basis, there’s a ruling that the NCAA comes out with that just leaves us scratching our heads. Whether it’s Kerwin Okoro or Rakeem Buckles, there is always a talking point or a cause for conversation. And blog posts.

Today? It’s Mike Krzyzewski, as he had an interesting take on transfers. Via Dana O’Neil:

“There should be no exceptions,” Krzyzewski told “Everybody should have to sit out, that includes a fifth-year player, just to make it equal. I think it’s a farce, really.”

The NCAA has come under scrutiny after a number of recent transfer decisions and the reason, Krzyzewski believes, is a lack of consistency.

Though he’d prefer to see the entire process eliminated, he said, at worst, the NCAA should take an all-or-nothing approach.

“Giving certain kids the right to play and others not the right to play, it should be done the same,” he said. “If they want to let everybody play right away, then let everybody play right away. Everybody should be treated the same. I don’t understand why there are exceptions to this rule.”

The idea that there should be no exceptions to the transfer rule is just a silly idea. You need waivers, because there is no way that one rule book can adequately and accurately govern all of the athletes that play an NCAA sport. It’s just not possible. There are going to be people that slip through the cracks, which is what the waiver system is designed for.

I also believe that Coach K’s second point is correct. I’m fundamentally against the NCAA restricting a player’s movement. When it comes down to it, most players are not going to want to leave their school, their friends, their team, the girl they’ve been dating, the sweat equity they’ve built up. But if the NCAA and the conferences are going to continue to rake in billions of tax-free dollars from these “student”-athletes, the least they can do is treat them like actual students.

But I don’t see that happening, which is why I think the answer is transparency, as John Infante of the ByLaw Blog writes here. The general consensus isn’t that the transfer process is broken, it’s that the NCAA is cold and heartless and inconsistent, because we have no idea what goes into each decision that is made.

So open up the books. Tell us why Rakeem Buckles got his waiver denied and while Malik Smith is playing at Minnesota this season.

If there’s a good reason, it goes a long way towards ending the complaints.


  1. coryfor3 - Sep 16, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    K proving he’s not worth listening to yet again. He’s best clammed up.

    • florida727 - Sep 17, 2013 at 3:00 AM

      Love him or hate him, Coach K knows what’s best for college basketball and in this case at least didn’t exactly come up with anything so profound that it leaves you scratching your head. What he said is nothing more than logical: make a rule, then stick by it. What’s the point of having a “rule” if you’re going to start making exceptions to it? Then it’s no longer a “rule”, it’s a “suggestion”. Typical NCAA stupidity.

  2. annapterp - Sep 16, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    I could not agree with you more coryfor3. At least the writer states that “The idea that there should be no exceptions to the transfer rule is just a silly idea.” K has moved to that stage where he’s just the grumpy old guy complaining about everything. He’s one hell of a basketball coach but he’s a hypocritical moron on just about everything else.

  3. Anoesis - Sep 17, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    I find it hard to believe anyone can take issue with a coach who’s proven time and again he can not only out-coach just about anybody in college basketball, but has the game’s best interests at heart like Mike Krzyzewski.

    I do disagree with having an iron-clad rule stating you must sit out due to a transfer, but he is spot-on with his observation that the NCAA is inconsistent. That seems to be its hallmark. Perhaps that is what he’s really focusing on, because I don’t think this guy has a lot of examples of players leaving his team.

    On the other hand, Duke has benefited from players transferring TO the team, including Dahntay Jones in ’01, Seth Curry in ’09, and Rodney Hood earlier this year. All three of those players sat out a year due to transfer rules.

  4. usm418 - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    Wrong again Coach K. The letter of intent is one of the most one sided agreements anywhere. If coaches can move for whatever reason why can’t the athletes?

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