Who is the NCAA Helping? - The Real Impact of PSU Transfers

I wondered if students that transfer between four-year institutions show a worse academic performance than native students. Then I wondered about student-athletes. I figured if the data showed that students perform worse after transferring, then the NCAA allowing student athletes to transfer from Penn State to another institution would actually be causing harm to these students as they try to earn their degree. This would seem to be contradictory to the stated mission of the sanctions against PSU and the NCAA as a whole. Here's what I found...


"In 2010-11, 6.4 percent of Division I student-athletes transferred from one four-year school to another four-year school. ... All of those student-athletes were required to sit out a year of competition...this is required because student-athletes who transfer do not perform as well academically over time."


"The NCAA prohibits contact between coaches and student-athletes on other teams to prevent continuous recruiting of student-athletes. The NCAA and its members believe this runs contrary to our mission, which is to govern competition in a fair, safe, equitable and sportsmanlike manner and to integrate intercollegiate athletics into higher education so that the educational experience of the student-athlete is paramount."

What the what!?

"Student-athletes who transfer are less likely to earn a degree than those who remain at their original institution; for that reason, it is important that the decision to transfer is carefully considered."

You can't make this stuff up.

"Data show that transferring has a negative impact on a student-athlete's academic success and eventual graduation..."

Now, of course, the NCAA doesn't actually cite any of this data and the U.S. Department of Education doesn't include transfer students in its graduation rates until next year, but I'll keep hunting. We already knew that allowing the students to transfer freely from Penn State was motivated by athletics, not academics, but if the NCAA's research is any indication, it seems like allowing them to transfer may have actually harmed their chances at earning a degree.

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