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Notre Dame Basketball

Brey, Kelly Have Opposing Takes on One-Time Transfer Rule

March 6, 2020

In February, the ACC issued a statement following winter meetings stating it wanted to give student-athletes more freedom to transfer as the league supports the one-time transfer rule. 

"During the league's annual winter meetings, the ACC discussed the transfer environment and unanimously concluded that as a matter of principle we support a one-time transfer opportunity for all student-athletes, regardless of sport. As a conference, we looked forward to continuing the discussion nationally." 

The one-time transfer rule would allow student-athletes in every sport to transfer once without sitting a year for their new school.

Only football, men's and women's basketball, ice hockey and baseball do not allow for immediate eligibility when transferring. 

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey, who is the president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, feels it would harm collegiate athletics. 

“Now where we’re going, I think we’re going to free agency,” Brey said. “I don’t think we can win that. The coaches don’t want that, and we feel, I sat out a year (going from Northwestern State to George Washington) and it was good for me when I transferred, but I think it’s going to free agency.

"I think I was a coach at Delaware, a lot of really good mid-major players that I had, and a lot of them are leaving now anyway, getting a waiver and transferring up, but now it’s going to be just an amazing vacuum.”

The ACC isn't alone in wanting a change as the Big Ten proposed the legislation to move to the one-time transfer rule. 

Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly was hesitant to comment as he knew whatever he said would be met with negative tones. 

"I think that ship’s sailed," Kelly said when asked about the potential changes. "Something is going to happen relative to transferring. The ACC has approved that, so does it really matter what I think? How does it really matter? I’m sure they do, and whatever I say is going to be taken 800 different ways." 

Kelly did admit he saw a reason to adopt the change and felt Notre Dame would be just fine if the NCAA adopts the idea. 

"This is about getting student-athletes to be student-athletes," explained Kelly. "If there’s a student-athlete component in transferring, I’m fine with it. I think you should give them the opportunity as long as they’re students and athletes. That’s really my only comment on it.

"Look, I was allowed to go from Central Michigan to Cincinnati. I got to move up. I got to move up from Cincinnati to Notre Dame. If players want to move and move up, I don’t have a problem with that. But I had to do some things to move up; I had to be successful and do things the right way and follow the NCAA rules and be a good citizen. So I think, you know, you don’t just get to choose and do things, whatever, just because you want to do them. So as long as they’re thoughtful and have some parameters, I think it’s fine."

Kelly has long stated Notre Dame is shopping down a different aisle in recruiting and those who come to South Bend are looking for a balance of academics and athletics, which is why they'll retain more than they lose. 

The debate can go on and on, but it's also interesting to see two coaches at the same university have entirely different thoughts on the same issue. 

“I tell Mike Pegues, Louisville assistant coach, all the time, he was my best player at Delaware, you would have gone to Villanova or Maryland after your sophomore year and I never would have got the Notre Dame job,” said Brey. “He laughed and I said, ‘No, I’m serious.’ I’ve had a lot of coaches call me, because I’m on the hot set as president, and I just talked to Tad Boyle at Colorado, he said, ‘Mike, it’s horrible.’

“I don’t think we can win it. We meet with (NCAA President Mark) Emmert and the NCAA administration at the Final Four as a board. That’s going to be the No. 1 pushback. I’m really interested to hear if we have any ability to push; I don’t think we do. I think this thing’s out of the gate.”

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