Transferring is the Hot New Fad

by Eric Gilmore

The transcript office is probably getting tired of this new transfer trend. Athletes are transferring now at an alarming rate, making it all too unfamiliar to see a player don the same jersey for an entire career. From homesickness, to a lack of playing time, athletes cite different reasons to sit out a year of eligibility in order to find new surroundings.

This hot new fad is not restricted to just one genre. There is the more traditional junior college transfer. Or, how about the easy way of merely sitting out a year by switching schools? The three years in exchange for two years of eligibility is a more confusing form.

But the real question is whether the Pirates' programs should let their players transfer with free will. Or should the Pirates potentially try to recruit other players from larger programs?

One look at the Pirate basketball team over the Herrion years, and fans have to understand the transferring process. Only Corey Rouse and Japhet McNeil have been with the team for more than two years. Because so many players have left the program, the team is unexpectedly in pieces. Within the last three years, Mike Cook, Belton Rivers, Frank Robinson and Devin Boddie all transferred to lateral Division I programs.

The roundball Pirates have also seen the majority of their team come from the junior college ranks. Recruit Tyronne Beale and Mike Castro already have shared the same jersey during their junior college days. Past players Derrick Wiley, Garth Grindley and Luke McCay all were two-year players.

The team has also welcomed new arrivals from other schools. Swingman David Bell was unhappy with his situation at LaSalle and decided Greenville was the place for him. Jeremy Ingram left Wake Forest in the middle of last year in order to finally reunite with high school teammate Corey Rouse. Both players are probable starters next season.

Let’s slow down though, and process what could have been. Cook, Rivers and Robinson all would have started next season under new coach Ricky Stokes. Ingram would be a living room name starting for Wake Forest due to Chris Paul opting for the NBA. If these players would have had patience in staying with their respective squads, all of their careers could have soared.

However, with only one signed recruit, the entire ECU squad needs to improve. North Carolina based Roy Bright was just released from his scholarship due to being found with a gun on campus. A source close to Bright said that he is leaning towards junior college. Even so, should ECU be willing to give Bright a second chance in order to better their program?

Martin Iti, the seven-foot center out of Charlotte, recently stated that he wanted out of Charlotte’s program. Iti, a huge coup of a recruit for Charlotte, has not indicated which school he will transfer to. Should Stokes be hard on Iti’s trail or rather try and find another player that will immediately help the program?

The same occurs in football. The talented and troubled Demetrius Summers left the University of South Carolina program and has had very few offers. Skip Holtz was one of the players who inquired about Summer’s talents. Ex-Tennessee quarterback Brent Schaeffer indicated he would send his transcript to approximately eight schools. Both players would provide immediate impacts to any program, especially to the Pirates.

Prominent players Chris Sellars, Jamar Flournoy, Aundrae Allison, Demetrius Hodges, Sean Harmon and Zach Baker are all junior college transfers. Pat Dosh hailed originally from the University of Florida and Jay Sonnhalter from Wingate. All have enjoyed stellar careers as Pirates.

It’s up to each individual athlete to make the best decision for his career. If players and coaches are both in agreement, then it can be a win-win situation. However, as in Cook’s case, his former team (ECU) is now in disarray because they were depending on his services.

Maybe this school hopping is just a fad, but the trend doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.

Eric Gilmore