Time to free up rules on transfers

The new year has begun and things need to change again in college football.

No, it has nothing to do with the College Football Playoff, which I’ve already written about.

And no, it doesn’t have to do with a coaching change in Ann Arbor. Jim Harbaugh is there to stay at Michigan for better or for worse. Seriously, I think the only thing that would get the Wolverines to fire him at this point would be not making a bowl game and losing to Ohio State by 50 points.

Michigan made the choice and I’ll leave that up to you whether that has been a smart decision or not.

Another school made a coaching decision that I think will start making people rethink their views and that’s Miami. Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt made the surprising choice to abruptly retire, which left an unexpected vacancy at a prime coaching spot.

Shortly after that, Miami got its new boss, Manny Diaz, who used to be its defensive coordinator before taking the head coaching job at Temple.

On the surface, this may seem like any other coaching hire, but trust me, it’s different. Diaz was only at Temple for 17 days before bailing on snowy Philadelphia for sunny south Florida. I know Philly is a tough city, but really? I’ve had milk in my fridge that’s lasted longer than Diaz’s time at Temple.

As bad as that looks, it gets worse. Diaz was signed in at Temple during the early signing period for recruits so that he could keep the Owls’ incoming players and make an attempt to market himself to them. Well so much for that. Diaz’s five-year contract with the Owls is over and now he has a five-year contract with the Hurricanes.

To cap off this debacle, Temple sent out a tweet on Dec. 19 announcing Diaz’s hire saying “signed, sealed and delivered” that appears to have Diaz talking to recruits who have signed on to play for the Owls. Yikes. Well at least he left a forwarding address for them to reach him at his new job.

Temple will get $4 million from Miami to buy out Diaz’s contract and already got $2.5 million from Georgia Tech after previous coach Geoff Collins left to coach the Yellow Jackets earlier in the month.

Yes, you read that right. The Owls lost two head coaches in the span of a month and ended up with $6.5 million. The Hurricanes also come off unintentionally weird as they just paid $4 million to get their defensive coordinator back and then pay him more money with his new head coaching deal. What a mess.

What’s even more of a mess is how this affects the players. Let’s say you’re a high school senior and you decided you want to go to Temple. The coach tells you that he’s happy to have you and then leaves town.

That probably doesn’t feel too good. It’s like being invited to a party and then having the host change the venue without telling you. While everyone else is hanging out and having fun, you’re dressed all nice and wondering why the building you drove to is locked. It’s probably not a pleasant feeling.

Or here’s another example. Let’s say you’re a defensive player at Miami and you loved playing for Richt. You’re in shock that he quit, and all of a sudden, Diaz is back.

However, you hated him as a coach and are upset that he’s back. Well, now you’re stuck with him again because thanks to the NCAA’s endless stream of crappy rules, if you want to leave to play somewhere else, you have to drop a year of your eligibility or try to convince them that you deserve a waiver.

Why? Because you made a commitment and that’s important! It’s vital that you keep your end of the deal to play for free at a place that will make tons of money off of your athletic abilities. By wanting to leave, you dishonor the name of “student-athlete” in the NCAA’s warped mind.

Meanwhile, Diaz signs a big deal for Temple and will most likely sign an even better deal with the Hurricanes without any penalties or any stress whatsoever. There are some analysts and fans who don’t see anything wrong with that.

What they do feel wrong about is the idea of players transferring in the first place. In their corrupt minds, coaches who make millions of dollars from their schools, and get rich off of the free labor of their students, should have every right to leave at the drop of a hat.

However, college athletes should just suck it up and deal with the hand they were dealt and shouldn’t even consider transferring.

That would be abandoning your team and that’s not what a good team player does.

Coaches even send this message to their players sometimes, but at the same time, would dump all of them if a bigger sack of money was given to them. It’s disgusting, but that’s just major college football. A sport where everybody in power is a hypocrite.

If there’s a positive in the Diaz fiasco, the tide might be turning in favor of the athletes. While Diaz put out a statement on why he left Temple, the common feeling on social media was that he’s full of crap.

In the statement, Diaz said:

“I never saw this coming, no one did. I do hope that the Temple players, administration and fans appreciate the uniqueness of this situation and the overwhelming pull to stay home.” (If you ever want to get out of a romantic relationship and get back with your ex, be sure to use this line).

Most people saw right through this and the idea was floated that if coaches are fired or decided to leave, then players should be free to transfer without any sacrifice on their part.

This is an idea I wholeheartedly support and others should as well. If you make a commitment to play for someone and they ditch you for a better job, why should you be the one to suffer?

The NCAA has proven that it’s more than willing to let players suffer while their coaches basically get deals and rake in money. However, the Diaz situation and the common reaction to it might get the NCAA to start to change its tune.

It’ll probably still make things difficult for athletes to transfer, but if a Diaz situation were to come up again, the organization might rediscover its soul and loosen up its rules so jilted players can get a fresh start.

They don’t get paid, but a new beginning with no strings attached would be some good compensation.

It’s a new year and it’s time to let players ditch their Temples just like Manny Diaz.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.