The NCAA gets a 50 percent approval rating from TCU head coach Gary Patterson this offseason.
He likes the new “redshirt” rule that allows schools to play freshmen for up to four games without burning a year of eligibility. He doesn’t like the new “transfer” rule where the NCAA sets up a national, public football transfer database and prevents schools from blocking players from leaving for specific institutions.
“The redshirt rule is an unbelievable rule,” Patterson said earlier this week from his Patterson Foundation fundraising event.
“We haven’t changed the redshirt rule since it was like 10 games with 125 scholarships. Now we have 85 scholarships and play 14, 15 games.
“It’s a lot better for your team’s health.”
Patterson believes the redshirt rule will be beneficial to schools and players, although it is an inexact science of how to best utilize it.
TCU, for instance, may want to get a true freshman playing time during the season. The first game against Southern isn’t expected to be close by the end, which would give Patterson a low-pressure situation to put them in.
But that would burn one of four games they could play in a relatively meaningless situation should something happen later in the season where TCU really needs them. Or what game will make most sense if Patterson wants to get true freshman quarterback Justin Rogers action during the season?
That is all hypothetical, of course.
“Or you can look at it from, you get a D-lineman hurt at the end of the year and you don’t have anybody else,” Patterson said. “But you have these freshmen who have now grown up in your program who can play at the end of the year instead of a guy having to take too many reps and getting hurt.
“Sometimes you play a freshman and he wasn’t ready to play, but by the end of the year he is.”
With that being said, there are several more positives than negatives with the new “redshirt” rule in Patterson’s mind. He feels the opposite about the “transfer” rule.
Starting in October, student athletes will no longer have to receive permission to transfer from a coach. Instead, a new “notification-to-transfer” model is being adopted where a student informs his or her current school, then requires that school to enter the student’s name into a national database within two business days.
Once a student’s name is in that database, coaches are free to contact that individual.
The NCAA likely felt it needed to make a change in regards to transfers with stories such as Corey Sutton coming to light. Kansas State refused to release Sutton from his athletic scholarship in May 2017 even though Sutton’s list of 35 potential transfer destinations didn’t include Big 12 schools or teams on future K-State schedules.
In fact, some schools were FCS and Division II.
Patterson called the K-State situation the “worst-case scenario” when it comes to transfers, but thought the NCAA went too far, especially without putting some parameters on it.
“Here’s what’s going to happen — players from other teams are going to start recruiting people and you can’t stop them from going wherever they’re going to go,” Patterson said. “Then it’s like what we’ve been trying to stop for a long time — it’s going to become the highest bidder. The people who are going to get hurt most by this is the non-Power Five schools.
“Schools right now, they’ve got a list of who all grad transfers are. Now, they’ll look at film and see who all the best players are [not just grad transfers] and then somebody is going to reach out and find them.
“Everybody will say nobody will do that. ... OK ...”
Patterson would have been OK with the new “transfer” rule if the NCAA put restrictions on it. He would’ve liked to have a date such as Jan. 1 when students must declare if they’re going to transfer, which would give their previous school time to recruit players at that position.
“If these kids transfer in February, how do you make up these scholarships?” Patterson said. “We’ve recruited a couple grad transfers and they let their schools know in December, January, so you give that place a chance to recruit. It’s just fair to the university and the kids who are on that team.”
Additionally, Patterson believes the NCAA should not allow freshmen to transfer. He pointed to the number of college basketball transfers as a reason to prevent freshmen from doing so in football.
“You know how many basketball kids transferred last year? 800,” Patterson said. “That’s with 13 scholarships. Can you imagine football teams with 85 scholarships, what the number of transfers is going to be?
“What we’re teaching our kids to do is quit. I’m not starting. I’m not getting my playing time. Every freshman I’ve ever known wants to transfer because it’s harder than anything else he did in high school.
“As I tell people all the time, at your house you’re going to allow your 17-year-old, 18-year-old to run your household? Let them pay your bills, that’s what you do? No. You don’t do that. So why are we putting our jobs in jeopardy because of an 18-year-old? That’s stupid.”