Thinking of Don Quixote

The athletic transfer problem is not confined to high schools alone. Recently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has had a work group studying the NCAA transfer rule for Division I institutions.

The problem has been of particular concern in Division I men’s basketball where more than 20 percent of scholarship players changed schools between last season and this.

The work group appeared to have narrowed its study to two options: Make every transfer student ineligible for one year; OR, Allow every transfer student immediate eligibility. And the second option seemed to have had the early momentum.

But last Wednesday, the work group announced that the proposal to grant immediate eligibility to transfer students who meet certain academic standards will not advance during the current NCAA legislative cycle. Two days later the report was corrected: there's still a chance for change by 2018-19.

Major college conference commissioners and NCAA leadership have surveyed the landscape. They see athletes arriving on their college campuses from an environment where, if they weren’t happy with a team, they changed teams.

Apparently, the non-school, travel team attitude is bigger than the NCAA may want to battle.

Yet here we are, thinking of how to wage war on athletic transfers in high schools.


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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 45 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for nine years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is chair of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation for 2018.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.