College Football Post-Grad Transfer: Good for Players; Good for CollegesGene Clemons, FBGP Analyst ____________
Last week, former Notre Dame Quarterback Everett Golson announced that he was going to pursue other options for his final year of eligibility. Because Golson has graduated, he will be granted immediately eligibility at his new institution. This became a necessity for Golson because it seemed clear that Notre Dame was going to move forward with junior signal caller, Malik Zaire.
The power of the high school football star has become ridiculous. Football studs hold entire college communities hostage while they await the decision of a young man, who is probably not properly equipped to make it intelligently. This is evident every signing day where players sign to go to colleges that don’t fit their athletic prowess. So, it’s safe to say they don’t truly understand if that university offers what they will need to be successful academically.
College football and subsequently its commitments, are mostly based off notoriety or prestige. That can explain why Florida State continues to stockpile loads of receiving talent, why Louisiana State should be called Defensive Back University and why Alabama loads up on lineman. But, for every elite-level prep recruit that transfers his high school production into college performance, there are those that don’t quite catch a break and spend their collegiate careers underwhelming the same people who held them in such high regard just a few years earlier.
There are those that remain diligent academically. They realize that the dream of playing in the NFL, is simply that to most players who strap it up on Saturdays. Still they want to go out with the satisfaction of knowing that they’ve exhausted every opportunity to reach that dream. This can not be accomplished while on the bench.
Most college coaches will tell you that they are trying to out-recruit their starters every season; that’s even more deleterious for those who don’t currently start. It means that once you are into your junior season if you are not starting or pushing for a starting job, there’s a good chance that barring injury, you will never be a starter.
Those that finish their academic requirements before they’ve completely depleted their athletic eligibility can find a home with a college or university, that can use their abilities immediately while they continue their education as a graduate student. This has been met with skepticism as it has become more prevalent throughout the college football landscape; but there’s no reason why this should not be considered a great thing for both the universities and the students.
First, but least important, it gives the athletes current team a scholarship back that would otherwise be wasted on a player they are not using on the field. Hopefully that team would not chase stars, and instead, chase prospects that really fit their program.
Secondly, it’s an opportunity for another program to bring in a highly motivated player who knows what the college game is all about. Hopefully, they choose wisely and garner a young man who could help improve their program immediately.
Most importantly, it gives a young man the opportunity for one more chance to reach their dream. This time they do it with the knowledge gained through their time in college. This time when they choose a home, they choose it understanding the climate they need to be successful.
Many young men have taken advantage of this opportunity and it has turned into an opportunity to continue their career professionally. Besides that, it’s a reward they deserve. We continually hear that college football players are not taking academics seriously that they are making a mockery of a free education.
Golson could have disappeared into anonymity after his year exodus from the Irish for academic misconduct. However, he did what he needed to do to return to South Bend, had a good season, and for his effort he’s going to be shown the bench. Why should he have to spend his senior season watching?
So when players actually take it upon themselves to push and complete a degree in the amount of time a normal student without a full time job does, they should have the right to pursue an opportunity to chase their dream. At worse, they receive more education and enter adulthood with knowledge and connections to become positive, productive members of society. At best, they get that elusive opportunity.