When an athlete chooses to transfer, three sets of rules can be involved: those of the NCAA.; those of the conference in which the university competes; and those that accompany the national letter of intent, a contract that athletes sign while still in high school to announce their intention to attend a university.
“It’s entirely slanted to the coach’s side,” said Don Jackson, a lawyer who runs the Sports Group in Montgomery, Ala., and who has represented dozens of athletes attempting to transfer to a university of their choice. “Once the student-athlete signs that national letter of intent, it’s essentially a contract of adhesion. They have limited rights.”
Universities have long sought to block student-athletes from transferring to a rival program. Alabama’s football team, for example, would not be expected to let a star player go to Auburn. But the impulse to limit the student-athlete’s options has been heightened to the point that coaches are now blacklisting dozens of universities.
From the NYT, here is more, none of it pretty, but of course lower-tier universities will claim they are making big investments in improving the quality of diamonds in the rough. The funny thing is — if I may sound Caplanian for a moment — no one at these schools seems to demand similar restrictions on transfers of the students.