Table of Contents
- Statement of the Problem
- Review of the Literature
According to the NCAA, 40% of men’s basketball players enter a Division I institution right after their senior year of high school end up transferring by the end of their sophomore year (NCAA, 2018). That percentage is insanely high and it is just men’s basketball players. Why are they transferring? 90% of transfers say they leave due to athletic reasons (NCAA, 2018). Could it be playing time, level of competition, or the accountability of the coach? One could argue that many Division I coaches are coaching for their jobs which causes less patience with younger less mature and underdeveloped players creating the command style of coaching. The command style, or dictator style is when the coach makes all of the decisions and the role of the athlete is to obey the coach’s commands (Martens, 1990). “Coaches who use the command style prevent athletes from fully enjoying the sport” (Martens, 1990, p.13). With that being said, this style of coaching could be a reason that many athletes transfer schools.
Statement of the Problem
Whether NCAA Division I student-athletes do not like their coach, want more playing time, or want to be closer to home, what is the leading reason that they transfer to a different school? I believe that the leading cause for this high percentage of athletes transfer rate is because they want more shots and want more minutes but cannot handle the daily grind of the expectations. As a coach, and former player experiencing the junior college level, and playing at the four year level allowed me to see this as is a huge issue. Playing time and shots is a serious problem regarding this transfer rate, along with the heightened level of competition of expectation. Although I have seen athletes transfer for more personal reasons like; (1) be closer to home or (2) receive a different level of education. Realizing these examples are typically not the norm, research shows 46% of Division I student athletes transferring to less competitive programs while others went to Division II NAIA and 2 year colleges (NCAA, 2018).
When I played college basketball, I had many teammates who were division I bounce backs at both junior college and four year experiences. Bounce backs are Division I athletes who thereafter transfers to a lower level division to continue intercollegiate competition. The main reason each of them left their previous school was usually playing time, shots or the coaching style. There were many other underlying reasons, but the most important ones was they wanted more playing time and more shot opportunities. Typically, players often figure playing at a lower level school would guarantee much more playing time and more shot opportunities to showcase whatever the last program or coach did not allow. Although I had many Division I bounce-backs on my team, the other schools in the conference and most non-conference teams we competed against also had many bounce backs on the team as well. However, I did not personally know their reasons for transferring, but I noticed a trend with junior college teams and at lower level NAIA programs having them more frequently than usual. In addition to having bounce-backs on my team or competing teams, I had many friends in similar situations. When I asked them why they wanted to leave, they explained not liking the coach and wanting more playing time. With that being said, they transferred to lower level programs to try and fulfill those voids.
Review of the Literature
Student athletes deciding to transfer universities is so common since the NCAA has many rules and restrictions to try and prevent athletes from leaving their original school. For example, an athlete from any NCAA Division II, Division III, or NAIA institution that wants to move up to Division I has to redshirt upon leaving to the new school prior to competition. Any athlete wanting to transfer from one Division I school to another also has to redshirt a year prior to competition. In most cases, Division I athletes that transfer to lower level schools, do not have to sit out a season to red shirt. They can play immediately. Recently “word got out that the NCAA was considering a proposal that would allow athletes who met an unstated academic standard to play immediately after transferring” (Greene & Keith, 2017 p. 26). For example, employers can transfer jobs without penalty, and college athletes often argue that their sport should be considered a job. For example, a student on the debate team at school receives no penalty for transferring colleges. With all that being said, even though athletes are being penalized for transferring, it does not matter to them because they are unhappy in their current situation to the point they would rather be penalized than finish what they started and stay another year.
More often than not, it is possible for athletes to transfer after their junior season, but not as common. There are many different reasons athletes transfer. The most common reasons are lack of playing time, poor relationships with coaching staff, home sickness, level of education, or maybe even the loss of love for the sport. According to a research study done by J.K Richards (2016), consisting of 80 student-athletes, the top five reasons for transferring were as follows; 1) coaching style, 2) playing time, 3) staff change, 4) lack of on campus support, or 5) schools social scene, loss of interest, and overall college experience. The study suggested the athletes transferred for reasons incapable of their control. In addition, “the top three factors, coaching style, playing time, and a change in coaching staff, are typically things that athletes perceive as beyond their control” (Richards, J. K., 2016, p.4). More studies must be conducted all over the United States to get a much better idea as to why many athletes are transferring schools.
- NCAA. (2018)Tracking transfer in Division I Men's basketball. Retrieved from NCAA Research: http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/tracking-transfer-division-i-men-s-basketball
- Martens, R. (1990). Successful Coaching . Champaign , Illinois : Human Kinetics.
- Greene, D., & Keith, T. (2017). The case for ... changing the transfer rule. Sports Illustrated, 127(8), 26.
- Richards, J. K., Holden, S. L., & Pugh, S. F. (2016). Published by the United States Factors That Influence Collegiate Student-Athletes to Transfer, Consider Transferring, Sports Academy or Not Transfer. Sport Journal, 2.