On a Grand Strategy for Maximizing Graduate Transfers

  • Will a team of graduate transfers soon win the national championship in D1 college basketball?

    Only a few years ago, most board rats had never even heard of a graduate transfer.

    Now, each recruiting season, board rats eagerly await the incoming graduate transfers almost as much as signings of OADs and players expected to have multi-year careers.

    Bill Self currently seems both pioneer and master of graduate transfer recruiting.

    But is Bill’s graduate transfer recruiting WSYWYG, i.e., an strategic end it itself, or is their a grand strategy afoot, as well?

    Could Bill Self purposely send players he could recruit as freshman to other programs around the country, in order to get them developed on the floor and graduated academically for three seasons, AND THEN bringing them to KU for a final season in which the graduate transfer can focus entirely on basketball, because he does not have to attend class?

    Think about the mad genius of what may be possible here!

    Imagine a 7-8 man roster of fully developed graduate transfers that don’t have to go to class, that have sewn all their wild oats; that have fathered all the children they want; that have moved beyond smoking pot; that don’t have to be tutored and kept eligible; that understand this REALLY IS their one last chance for basketball greatness in college!!!

    Imagine what Self could do with an eight man rotation of guys like that!!!

    Imagine how much they could practice!!!

    Imagine how much of the 1,000 page play book such a team could master!

    "Re-imagine all the transfers playing as a team/

    You-oooh may say I’m a recruiter/

    But I’m not the only one/

    I hope some day you will sign up/

    And the team will play as one…"

    –lyrics by jayJohn Lenbate 1.0, “Re-Imagine,” from the digitally remastered analog album “Re-Imagine” put out by City of London-Prime Records, all rights retained by the Bank of International Settlements, Geneva, Switzerland


    A truly experienced and fully developed roster of 8 graduate transfers hand picked and placed by Self as freshmen with Okie Baller coaches around the country at lesser schools needing such players to keep their jobs, then passing them on to Self to piece together into one of Self’s insanely well drilled, and brilliantly coached teams full of swagger and boot camp esprit d’corp would be unbeatable in the current NCAA slag heap of elite teams composed of OAD children starting as freshman and TAD slow learners finally starting as sophomores.

    Imagine Self with a full rotation of true seniors–seasoned, hard nosed, men.

    Self could even have Hudy create three-year weight training and diet plans for the freshman recruits placed at other schools with Okie Baller coaches, so that by the time they got to Lawrence, they would all look like Incredible Hulks in adidas, albeit with flexibility, too. Think about THAT!!! All the mistakes in dietary supplements, and the mistakes in too much weight gain in the wrong body regions, could be made and recovered from during the players first three seasons at other schools, and by the time they got to AFH the kinks would be worked out, the apparent sicknesses from allergic reactions to supplements would be over, the stress fractures/reactions and joint inflammation from the early years of carrying more weight than god intended, would be OVER! Done! Self would just have a bunch of healthy, indestructible studs to coach!

    The Basketball Marines aren’t looking for the cream of the crop. They are just looking for a few good transfers. The Few. The Proud. The Graduate Transfers.

    Semper Fi!

  • @jaybate-1.0

    The Graduate Transfer is likely to see some changes in the future and might become a fad. Today, its almost like Free Agency. I’m certainly all for players having the right to transfer but we are definitely seeing some alarming trends to this loophole.

    You are already seeing smaller schools that are looking to restrict players from red-shirting which puts them in line to be a graduate transfer down the line. These smaller schools invest a ton of time to see their star players or players that took 2-3 years to develop leave because they can without restriction.

    For now its benefiting major programs that have turnover at seasons end and is also providing kids who started off at smaller schools the opportunity to play for a school they might never have thought they would have the chance to play for.

    I think in terms of recruiting, whether it be High School, Junior College, or Division-1 there is a lot of parity. KU might not have even looked at transfers 10 years ago but today if your not on the radar for transfers you might have a baren roster. Some schools can still rely on recruiting High School talent but even the elite programs have started to take transfers when they need them.

  • @BeddieKU23

    I hope it goes away, but I doubt it will.

  • @jaybate-1.0


    We never would have Tarik Black as a beloved Hawk…

    The graduate transfer rule should not be taken away but maybe there are things that can be done to make it better. It’s only a big issue in Basketball, Football and Baseball and why is that? Money$$$

    The mess with Cameron Johnson transferring from Pitt to UNC this spring is a prime example of the issue. Johnson had already graduated from Pitt and wanted to go to UNC which is in the same conference. Pitt tried everything to restrict him and finally succumbed to public pressure in the end. But it took months for Johnson to get his release from Pitt even though he had already fulfilled his academic requirement for Pitt. Had Johnson been a regular transfer that had to sit a year (another fallacy) he would have lost a year of eligibility transferring in-conference. Pitt tried everything they could to apply this restriction to him because Johnson left Pitt with 2 years of playing eligibility left.

    Coaches, AD’s, should NEVER have the right to restrict a kid from going anywhere. They do not own these kids like property.

    The other side of the issue is that the graduate transfer option for kids is being abused by those who have no intent on finishing a masters degree at the new school they go to. I can see where schools would be upset at kids who transfer in for 1 year and don’t finish their academics. That spot could have been given to a regular student who is there for academic reasons only. This part of the loophole is not fair to everyone and it makes it seem that the athlete is getting an extra benefit not available to other students.

  • @BeddieKU23 I fall in the other camp very strongly. You said, “Coaches, AD’s, should NEVER have the right to restrict a kid from going anywhere. They do not own these kids like property.”

    A very important point – the kids signed a deal. An agreement. A contract. Either they signed as adults, or their parents on their behalf. In all walks of life, when you sign a contract, that can govern your conduct. A non-compete in an employment situation is similar. Many times there is a one year restriction where you can’t work in a particular field. So the “property” argument, much like the “slave” argument you hear from some of the more ignorant of the athletes, is simply not valid. You can contract away your freedom.

    A second important is that, in fact, a coach, AD, whoever, CANNOT NOW restrict a kid from going anywhere. In fact, the athlete can do exactly what any other student can do as far as transferring. The only stipulation is that the kid can’t play basketball (of course, in fact, the same as the non-athlete).

    The NCAA is a private organization. Kids are free to play basketball anywhere they want. The NBA rule is an NBA rule and has nothing to do with the NCAA. That’s up to the NBA. The kids make a conscious decision that NCAA basketball benefits them. That’s the deal. If a kid doesn’t like the NCAA’s rules, then don’t take the deal. It’s really that easy. A kid can then do what other students do – get student loans (which are available to all income levels, and grants to the lower income levels), work a job, whatever.

    The NCAA rules on transfers is part of the deal.

    Somehow, thousands of kids feel the NCAA deal is a good one, given the alternatives. It is truly a free country and the athlete always has a choice. This isn’t a situation where you either jump off a cliff, or take the deal. Each athlete’s personal situation dictates whether the deal is good, bad, or average.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Your absolutely right they sign a deal. If I’m wrong please correct me but I have the understanding that athletic scholarships are not 4 year deals, they are 1 year deals that are either renewed or not every year?

    The Cameron Johnson issue I brought up was unique to the graduate transfer phenomena. He has 2 years of athletic eligibility left with a College degree which is rare for a grad transfer. He also wanted to transfer within conference. Usually for a player to do this they would lose a years worth of eligibility as well as sitting the upcoming year (if it’s allowed at all).

    Pitt tried to levy the same restriction to him without having the right to do so, remember the transfer rules are NCAA rules and in this case that didn’t apply to Johnson as a graduate transfer. Pitt tried to argue it was an athletic department policy. So who’s right? The NCAA rules or the University trying to enforce an athletic department policy in an attempt to keep him from transferring within conference without restriction?

  • I may be a bit unclear, but don’t the conferences have rules that are more punitive – recalling the Luke Axtell situation – vs. by school? And the NCAA authorized conferences to make those rules? I haven’t looked it up so just tossing it out.

  • @jaybate-1-0 lolol I’m so glad you’ve now got your head wrapped around this grad transfer thing thrice over! Brilliant.

Log in to reply