Ole Miss football coach Lane Kiffin says players whose conferences have decided to postpone fall sports should be free to transfer without penalty.
During an appearance on the SEC Network on Tuesday, Kiffin said it’s a “shame” that players are unable to do so.
“Kids are having their schools or their conferences deciding to shut down, so they can’t play, and a lot of them have a lot of money on the line with the next level, or they just want to play their last year,” Kiffin said. “So it’s really unfortunate that the NCAA is not allowing them to transfer and be eligible immediately. We’re being told that won’t even go into a waiver process, so I feel really bad for those kids. It’s not their fault. Why can’t they come play somewhere? That doesn’t make any sense to me.”
On Aug. 11, the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced that because of the coronavirus pandemic they would not be playing football in the fall and aimed instead to play in the spring.
The SEC, ACC and Big 12 all have announced plans to start their seasons on Sept. 26. The SEC plans to play a 10-game, conference-only schedule.
On Tuesday, Alabama coach Nick Saban said spring football wouldn’t be appealing to pro prospects.
“I think one of the real consequences of this is, if you’re a junior or a senior and you have an NFL grade, are you going to play in the spring?” Saban said. “Or is that going to become sort of a JV season with a lot of these juniors and seniors opting out?”
Kiffin said he asked the SEC about players transferring from conferences that aren’t playing in the fall and was told that there would be no special waiver available, and the only players who can transfer without having to sit are graduate transfers.
Kiffin, who was Saban’s offensive coordinator at Alabama from 2014 to 2016, said players are excited to be back practicing and preparing for the season. Ole Miss is scheduled to open the season at home against Florida on Sept. 16.
However, Kiffin said the biggest challenge his team faces is fighting the spread of COVID-19.
“The big challenge is not when they’re with us,” he said. “The big challenge is when they’re away from us and dealing with this, and [they’re] doing a good job because the college environment is not doing a very good job of it and the environment in general.”