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Can we fix what’s wrong with the transfer rules?

SEC Basketball Tournament - First Round

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 08: Damontre Harris #24 of the South Carolina Game Cocks dunks the ball during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the first round of the SEC Basketball Tournament at the New Orleans Arena on March 8, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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You don’t need me to tell you (again) how unfair it is that coaches and athletic department administrators can, essentially, hold players that want to transfer out of their program hostage.

I did just that on Monday when news about Eric Hyman’s, South Carolina’s AD, refusal to release Damontre Harris to NC State started getting talked about. And to think, that was just the start of these college basketball programs abusing their power. Bo Ryan has banned Jarrod Uthoff, who redshirted last season, from being contacted by exactly 34.2% -- 25 teams -- of the programs in the power six conferences. Tulsa has since given Jordan Clarkson permission to speak to only Vanderbilt, Colorado and TCU.

The irony?

Two of those three programs -- Tulsa and South Carolina -- have a brand new head coach this season. They weren’t forced to sit out a year when they “transferred” jobs, however. They weren’t forced to ask for a release from the players at their previous job. They just up and left, getting a raise in the process.

It’s messed up, but you don’t need me to tell you that.

The question is whether or not there is actually anything that can be done to change this fact.

Waiving any kind of restriction on transfers would create an open season recruiting players that are already playing at a different Division I school, and I think we can all agree that is not a good thing. Back in January, John Infante of the Bylaw Blog developed a well-reasoned process for righting the transfer ship.

I’d recommend reading his entire piece, but the gist is this:

- Eliminate transfer restrictions on walk-ons. If the school isn’t paying for their education, how can they have any control over where the athlete gets that education?

- Allow scholarship athletes to give up their scholarship, become a walk-on and be privy to the lack of restrictions on where a walk-on can transfer to. That way, the transfer system can still run the same way -- the athlete would still request permission to contact, the school can still deny it and the athlete can still appeal the decision -- but it would create a loophole that the athlete can use if they truly want to transfer to a specific destination.

- Change the rule on one-time transfer exceptions to this: “A student-athlete who transfers is not required to serve an academic year in residence if, based on his or her academic record from the first institution, the student-athlete meets all progress-toward-degree requirements at both institutions.” In other words, if the student is keeping their grades up, they don’t have to sit out unless they transfer in the middle of the year.

Is it perfect?

Probably not.

But it is better than the way the current system is structured.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.