Sporting A Screening Policy for Transfer Student Athletes

Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes

  • Student athletes are transferring to new universities to escape their criminal past
  • Some athletic conferences have begun prohibiting universities from being able to accept transfer students who had been disciplined by previous schools for acts committed like sexual assault, domestic violence or other forms of sexual violence
  • Implementing a screening policy for student athletes better equips the school and coaches to provide a safe environment for all students

“Wow! That all-star quarterback wants to transfer to our school from ABC University?! Lets get him in here immediately!” Wow, wow, lets slow down for a minute. Yeah this quarterback is great, but do you know why he’s transferring? Do you know why he’s leaving his current university to come to yours? Did something happen? These are all questions you should consider when deciding to admit a transfer athlete into your athletics program. Because if you don’t…you might not know what you’re getting yourself into. 


What’s Happening Today   

So that all-star quarterback wants to transfer to your university. Sounds pretty great! But before you give the go ahead on that, you might want to consider the following:


John Smith, all-star quarterback from ABC University, was kicked off of his football team because he was found guilty for domestic violence. But John needs football so he can one day fulfill his dreams of becoming a professional football player, he knows that no longer having the opportunity to play football at ABC University would change all of that. So John decides to simply transfer from ABC University and go play football at XYZ University to continue his collegiate football career.


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Does this seem fair? Does this seem right? That’s for you to decide, but the SEC doesn’t think so. Transfer students are simply able to transfer from university to university when they get in trouble or are kicked of their college sports team and use that rule as a “get out of jail free” card and not face any consequences for their actions. The SEC saw a flaw in this, and created a rule to combat the issue.       


The SEC Rule    

In 2015, the SEC approved a rule that prohibited their universities from being able to accept transfer students who had been disciplined by previous schools for acts committed like sexual assault, domestic violence or other forms of sexual violence. But their efforts don’t only stop there. The SEC also has a standardized set of questions that each member university has to use before accepting a transfer student athlete. If a student athlete’s behavior results in an expulsion from another university, the student athlete will not be accepted into any other university within the SEC. 


More Needs to Be Done  

While the SEC rule has been a great start to combat this problem, it is still a concern. As of 2016 only 1% of universities screen their transfer athletes. In the SEC you’re not able to just transfer from school to school so easily, but what about other conferences? A lot of college athletes are able to still find universities they’re able to play for with no questions asked. It’s not that these student athletes don’t deserve second chances, but your goal as a university should be to equip yourself with as much knowledge and information as possible so you can prepare yourself for anything. That all starts with implementing a screening program that applies to all of your student athletes, including transfer students athletes, and student athletes for all sports. But why is having a screening program so important?    


Why You Need to Be Screening Your Student Athletes 

 When a student athlete is involved in an incident, it’s embarrassing for the university and can become a public relations nightmare. But that’s just where it begins – the student may be suspended, not just from athletics, but from the university. Possibly even expelled. But what if the student athlete has displayed this behavior before? Maybe the coach that recruited them let it slide because of the great talent they bring to the team, or maybe you just truly didn’t know about it. There have been countless times incidents like these have happened, and it leaves the university embarrassed and looking for a solution.


Wouldn’t it have been nice for you to have known this information before hand? To be equipped with everything you should know about the student athletes you’re bringing to your university? Having all the information you should about your student athletes is important for the safety of your students. You should know as much as you’re able to about the student athletes you bring onto your campus.   


Closing Thoughts 

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