NCAA gets it right with AU’s ProschPublished 9:40am Wednesday, June 27, 2012
By Andy Graham | Sportz Blitz
The National Collegiate Athletic Association has an incredibly lengthy and extensive manual for rules and interpretations pertaining to Division I football.
I won’t say that the manual is monotonous, but the 426 page 2011-12 version could easily be used as an anesthetic. Some of the rules make very little sense and others seem to contradict one another.
Undoubtedly though, many of the other bylaws and regulations are not only practical and logical, but are also necessary.
For example, the guidelines and restrictions placed on students transferring are perfectly understandable.
A player must sit out a year when transferring from one FBS school to another.
Why is this important?
It’s an important rule because it ostensibly prevents free agency in college football. It is imperative there be a penalty associated with changing schools and there is no greater penalty for young athletes than to be removed for a year from the sport they love.
Just look at free agency in the NFL and imagine the effect it would have on college athletics.
I believe the NCAA transfer rule is absolutely necessary and definitely needs to be enforced; however, like most rules there are exceptions.
Jay Prosch is just such an exception. Prosch is a native of Mobile and attended high school at UMS-Wright. He played linebacker for the Bulldogs, but was recruited by Illinois coach Ron Zook as a fullback. The position came natural to him and he became an All-American his sophomore year for the Illini.
Tragically, his mother was also diagnosed with brain cancer that same year. After the 2011 season, Jay decided he needed to be closer to home. He wasn’t suspended for a violation of team rules, kicked off the team for being arrested or even run out of town for being a distraction.
He was a good football player in good standing who made a difficult decision to change schools because of the unique situation with his family.
The NCAA made the right decision in granting Jay Prosch a waiver to bypass the transfer rule. It was announced last week that he will be eligible to play football at Auburn this fall.
Tiger fans are, of course, ecstatic because of the tremendous impact Prosch could potentially have on the offense.
He’s already impressed his teammates in the weight room and during spring practice leading by example. He’s also impressed the coaches with his innate ability to plow the road.
Auburn fans, players and coaches are all excited and they should be, but the real winners in this situation are the Prosch family.
Champaign, Illinois is 14 hours away from Mobile.
Auburn is only four hours away.
Jay’s already had many more opportunities to spend quality time with his mother who is in a battle for life, than he did a year ago.
Prosch recently said in an interview that he knew he made the right decision before the NCAA even ruled. He was already happy just to have the opportunity to be closer to his mother.
Getting to play football this year is just a bonus.
People often tell us what the NCAA is doing wrong. This time I thought I would tell you what they did right.
Graham is a columnist for Sportz Blitz.