The Division I Council meets Wednesday and Thursday, and the agenda includes voting on a proposal that would grant all college athletes the ability to transfer one time as undergraduates without having to then sit out a season of competition.
All indications are the proposal will pass. When it does, athletes in football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and men’s ice hockey will for the first time be immediately eligible to play after switching schools without asking for special permission.
For decades, the penalty of giving up a year of eligibility helped deter athletes from transferring, at least in those high-profile sports. In all other NCAA sports, athletes were allowed to switch schools once before graduating and play immediately.
The exception will soon be available to everyone – which is likely to mean more transfers than ever.
South Dakota State athletic director Justin Sell, a member of the council, said the lack of uniformity in the rules across sports had become difficult to justify.
“Trying to create opportunities for students that are equitable across the board, it becomes much more difficult to create a case of why a football student-athlete should be sitting out when a volleyball student-athlete doesn’t have to,” Sell said.
The NCAA has been examining its rules regarding athletes who transfer seemingly forever. But three and a half years ago Sell was put in charge of a working group tasked with making substantive changes.
TENNESSEE STATE: Tennessee State is banking on Eddie George’s name, connections and football knowledge as a former NFL running back to return the proud program with 13 Black national championships to national prominence.
TSU, a historically Black college or university, introduced George at a news conference Tuesday inside the Gentry Center with the Aristocrat of Bands on hand. Athletic director Mikki Allen said his priority when hired a year ago was to renew the standard of excellence. He believes he found his man in George, a proven winner on and off the field.
“He’s dynamic. He’s charismatic. He’s energetic and magnetic and has all the tools necessary to build a championship level program here at the Tennessee State University,” Allen said.
Tennessee State is taking a risk. George, a four-time Pro Bowl running back with the Tennessee Titans and the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner with Ohio State, has not coached before. He played nine seasons in the NFL and ran for 10,441 yards.
George said this is a new chapter for him. “The No. 1 goal is to win and bring prominence back to this university where it belongs,” he said.
VANDERBILT: Vanderbilt has hired Shea Ralph away from UConn to help revive the Commodores’ struggling women’s basketball program, which hasn’t reached the NCAA Tournament since 2014.
Athletic Director Candice Lee announced the hiring Tuesday, a week after firing Stephanie White following five seasons. Ralph will be introduced at a news conference Wednesday.
Ralph has been an assistant with the Huskies since 2008, and she helped lead UConn to 13 consecutive Final Fours and six NCAA championships. She helped with recruiting and player development. She spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Pittsburgh, which won at least 22 games in each of her last three seasons.
Ralph, who graduated from Connecticut in 2001, was captain of the Huskies’ 2000 national championship team and was named MVP of that Final Four. She also was an All-American and the 2000 Big East Player of the Year. A knee injury kept her from playing in the WNBA after she was drafted by the Utah Starzz in 2001.
UConn Coach Geno Auriemma said Ralph will leave a big void in the Huskies’ program but deserves a shot at what he called a big job.
EVANSVILLE: A former student is suing the University of Evansville and its former basketball coach, Walter McCarty, accusing him of rape and the school of not protecting students from him, allegations that both deny. The Title IX lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Evansville claims the university was aware of harassment and assault claims against McCarty more than a year before his January 2020 dismissal but failed to protect students from him.
McCarty played in the NBA with the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers. After his playing career, McCarty served as an assistant coach with the Celtics, the Indiana Pacers and at the University of Louisville before taking the Evansville job.
The former student, identified as Jane Doe, is a former university athletic trainer, the 34-page complaint said. It alleges McCarty sent the woman inappropriate texts and messages on social media that culminated in him pressuring her to visit his home after midnight on Dec. 9, 2019, when the attack occurred.
McCarty sent her more messages in the days afterward, to which she replied, “Why did u do what u did to me … I told u I wanted to stop and u kept goin,” the lawsuit said.
As a result of the attack, the plaintiff sought counseling, according to the suit, which seeks unspecified damages.
McCarty issued a statement saying in part, “I’ve never assaulted anyone in my 47 years on this earth. It’s disheartening that someone would make up such a vicious lie to gain financial rewards.”
The school also issued a statement in response to the lawsuit.
“The University of Evansville disputes the legal claims from Jane Doe and her attorney. The University is confident it responded appropriately to all reports of misconduct regarding Mr. McCarty based on information it actually knew at the time; the University is similarly confident it responded reasonably to Jane Doe’s report,” the statement said.
NORTH CAROLINA: The five-year deal with new men’s basketball coach Hubert Davis will pay an average of $2 million annually in salary, compensation from apparel and multimedia deals, and an expense allowance.
The school has released terms for Davis, a former Tar Heels player under Dean Smith who had spent the past nine seasons as an assistant to Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams before becoming his successor. The 50-year-old Davis, who played a dozen years in the NBA, is a first-time college head coach.
Davis will receive a base salary of $400,000 and supplemental compensation increasing from $600,000 for his first season to $1 million for the 2025-26 season. Additionally, Davis will receive $250,000 from apparel maker Nike and $500,000 from multimedia rights holder Learfield annually. Add in an annual $50,000 expense allowance, and Davis’ compensation starts at $1.8 million for his first year before increasing to $2.2 million by his fifth.
Separately, there are annual bonuses that could reach nearly $1.1 million.