NCAA should be stingy with hardship waivers

Updated: September 17, 2008, 12:41 PM ET
One of the oldest and easily understandable rules of competitive balance in college sports is the transfer rule. For as long as anyone can remember, the rule has been that an athlete transferring from one Division I institution to another must sit out a full year of competition. It has always been crystal clear. You cannot bounce from one team to another without sitting out a season.

Last year, Tyler Smith was granted a hardship waiver to play immediately at Tennessee after transferring closer to home to be with his gravely ill father. Now, Smith's waiver has become precedent for others to attempt to gain immediate eligibility by claiming hardship. No reasonable person can fail to empathize with Smith's situation. After leaving Iowa, Smith's father sadly passed away. Smith played the season for Tennessee anyway, and helped lead the Vols to the Sweet 16. Now, there are several players that are transferring from one school to another and seeking a hardship waiver on the same basis as Smith.