Lane Kiffin Thinks Big Ten, Pac-12 Players Should Be Able to Transfer Without Penalty

Nate Gabler

Is Lane Kiffin biased on the matter? Of course. Does he have a point? Potentially. 

When talking to media after the team's first full-padded practice since Kiffin took the Ole Miss job back in December, the new Rebel coach had some words for the NCAA about how it's handled Big Ten and Pac-12 cancellations. 

Simply put, Kiffin believes players from those conferences that wanted to try and play in the fall should be immediately eligible to transfer to a conference that is playing fall football.

"I don't understand it at all," Kiffin said. "If a kid wants to play football and he's not allowed to play football at his school and his conference, why can't he go somewhere else and play? How much sense does that make?"

It's an issue that has some precedence on the current Ole Miss roster.

Ole Miss has two players on roster that transferred this summer from schools in the U Sports league, Canada's college sports league. The U Sports league canceled their fall football earlier this spring. Upon doing so, the NCAA granted players transferring to schools within their jurisdiction immediate eligibility upon transferring.

Now, a plethora other leagues are shutting down fall football, and players from those leagues aren't being granted that same opportunity. 

"The issue is they're not giving guys immediate eligibility," Kiffin said. "At first we thought, if they got shut down, the NCAA would say 'If your conference and school isn't going to let you play you can transfer and be eligible somewhere else.' They've come out and said that's not the case. You're not going to win a waiver.

"I think you would have seen a lot if that would have happened. You would have seen free agency."

Kiffin says his staff had extensive conversations about what they would do if a player reaches out to them from one of the conferences whose league has postponed football to the spring. At this point, without eligibility, they would have to view such a move as they would any other. 

When this staff took over in December, they intentionally left some roster spots and scholarships available for these sort of offseason moves. Kiffin described such decisions as 'NFL-like' roster maintenance, leaving yourself flexibility if players become available. Those spots have come in handy, as the Rebels have added the two players from Canada, as well as Navy transfer Jacob Springer. 

In general, Kiffin says he's not surprised. Really, he's not surprised by anything that's happened, positively or negatively, from the NCAA or any conference that has moved forward or postponed football altogether. 

"I had heard a number of things, first from the Pac-12 a while back, that that was going to happen. Then the Big Ten," Kiffin said. "It really didn't come as much of a surprise. I would've kind of guessed, what two conferences (shut down), those are the two I would have guessed."

As fun as such a system would have been, players transferring for eligibility when a season starts in six weeks, it seems to be a pipe dream—one in which the pipe is slowly closing it's opening. 

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