Should Auburn football players be allowed to transfer within SEC?
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Should players be allowed to transfer and play for any team they want to — even if it’s a rival?
If a player graduates, causes no trouble, does all he is asked to do, shouldn't he be allowed to transfer and play for any team he wants to, even if it's your rival?
— Lee Riley (@LeeR11) May 14, 2018
AUBURN, Ala. — For most top high school prospects, deciding which university to commit to is the hardest decision they will face at that stage of their lives.
Parents, coaches, teammates, friends and family typically influence the decision in some way. Oftentimes players end up at the right school. They improve and everything unfolds as expected. Sometimes, however, things go awry and a student-athlete may regret his or her decision.
When that happens, coaches are remiss to block transfers to other schools within their conferences. Yes, that means that even if an Auburn player wants to be a member of the Crimson Tide, it should be permitted.
College coaches recruit talented players and become acquainted with the athlete’s support system. Typically during in-home visits, a coach pitches parents on why their university and football program will be the best fit for their son.
Though coaches are responsible for different aspects of a student-athlete’s college career, their primary responsibility is the young person’s health and well-being. That, without a doubt, should be the biggest focus.
Now, that doesn’t mean that coaches have to grant playing time or praise players when they don’t deserve it, but if a different program would be a better fit, coaches should be smart enough to recognize that and be big enough to admit it.
I would argue that if a player gets into trouble or doesn’t exhaust every possible strategy to make their experience at their chosen school a positive one they shouldn’t be permitted to go wherever they want. If a player is a model citizen, graduates and proves himself to be a valued member of the program, though? Nothing should stand in that person’s way when it comes to transferring.
Life is short and a college athletic career is shorter. It’s not worth ruining a skilled athlete’s outlook on athletics just to prove a point. Sometimes kids — because that’s what they are — just make wrong decisions.
A simple, clean break from a program can be life-changing. But players need to take responsibility and prove they aren’t simply taking advantage of this allowance. Still, coaches need to understand their role in a young athlete’s life and be supportive when it counts.
Keep in mind, this could create some tense situations. If a player were to leave the Plains to be a member of Nick Saban’s team at Alabama, you can bet Auburn players wouldn’t forget that move. Still, at the end of the day it’s the players who are putting in the work, and they should be allowed to be in control of that.