Monday, August 20, 2012
Intraleague transfers on the rise in Big Ten
By Adam Rittenberg
In the not so distant past, when a Big Ten player decided to transfer, it almost always signaled the end of his Big Ten career.
The Big Ten's old policy stipulated that a player who transferred from one Big Ten school to another couldn't receive athletics aid at his new destination. While some players still made the moves and paid their own way -- Wisconsin-turned-Minnesota safety Kim Royston comes to mind -- the rules typically steered transfers to other leagues.
The league since has loosened its restrictions, and several players seem to be capitalizing. Four players transferred within the conference this summer.
Kenny Hayes, a former Ohio State defensive lineman who reportedly is transferring to Michigan State, is the latest player to make a move within the league. Illinois last week added Nebraska transfer Ryan Klachko, an offensive lineman who redshirted in 2011. The Illini also recently picked up offensive lineman Ryan Nowicki, one of nine Penn State players to transfer from the program after the NCAA leveled heavy sanctions July 23. Another offensive lineman, Brian Bobek, transferred from Ohio State to Minnesota in June.
Nowicki is eligible to play immediately, according to the relaxed rules the NCAA devised for players interested in transferring from Penn State. Klachko, Hayes and Bobek both must sit out a season before becoming eligible in 2013.
But all four can receive immediate scholarships at their new schools, thanks to a recent change in the Big Ten's transfer policy.
Beginning with the 2011-12 academic year, athletes transferring within the Big Ten can receive scholarships from their new schools as long as they receive their full release.
Bobek won't be on scholarship until January only because Minnesota is at its limit for the season. But if Minnesota had room for him right now, he could receive aid.
The highly publicized case of former Wisconsin basketball player Jarrod Uthoff this spring had more to do with Wisconsin restricting Uthoff's options than the Big Ten making it difficult for Uthoff financially. Uthoff transferred to Iowa in June and will pay his own way for a year before being put on scholarship.
It'll be interesting to see if the revised policy on intraleague transfers leads to more moves within the Big Ten. While the Big Ten doesn't want to see this become a major trend, the league made the right call in allowing immediate scholarships to kick in. It's one thing for schools to be childish and hypocritical about granting releases, but league should be looking out for the players.