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Welcome to College Football Free Agency

By on September 20th, 2018 in Football, News 16 Comments »

Nate Craig-Myers (3) catching a touchdown pass against ULM in 2016 (photo: John Reed–USA TODAY Sports)

Two more athletes have decided to leave the Auburn football program. Frankly, this writer is not surprised. This is exactly what I expected to happen when the NCAA instituted a new transfer rule last summer.

Auburn receiver Nate Craig-Myers and his brother, defensive back Jayvaughn Myers, announced today they would be leaving the program. Auburn tight end Jalen Harris left the team yesterday.

Nate Craig-Myers’ leaving will not hurt the Tigers depth as much as Harris’ departure as the team only has one scholarship tight end left on the roster. The new rule was ostensibly passed to help freshmen get more playing time without losing a year of eligibility. However, upperclassmen have learned they can use the rule too.

The new legislation did away with an athlete having to get permission from its school to transfer and at the same time mandated that the school has to enter the athlete’s name in a national recruiting data base. Then any coach is free to make an offer to that player.

In effect, the NCAA created free agency for college football.

In the past, if a player was unhappy because he did not receive the playing time he thought he should have, he was motivated to take his game to the next level. Now that players are allowed to play in up to four games and still keep their eligibility for another year as a redshirt player, those unhappy players can just leave and seek a position on another team, even in the same conference.

In the past, coaches had to be careful about playing exceptional freshman but not with the new rule. Many teams, including the Tigers, have witnessed a plethora of talented freshmen receive playing time this year. 

Upperclassmen that see themselves challenged by younger players can just announce they are going elsewhere.  Craig-Myers already saw himself competing for playing time behind Darius Slayton, Eli Stove, and Will Hastings. Then in the first three games this season, he’s seen the ascension of freshman phenom Seth Williams on the depth chart to give Craig-Myers even more competition. Williams had two catches against LSU last week for 35 yards, nearly matching Craig-Myers’ 39-yard season total.

Giving freshman a chance to play early without losing eligibility is a good thing, but allowing upperclassman to transfer basically as a free agent is not. However, we can expect to see more of this happening across the college football landscape as the game grows closer to a minor league model of –the NFL


  1. WarSamEagle WarSamEagle says:

    I expected this to happen too when they passed the rule. Next thing you know, players will be receiving pay checks and have agents.

  2. who is the next tight end on scholarship that could take Jalen Harris place?

  3. I think your spot on ATM about the transfer rule.
    I could just see a team having a quarterback battle and the guy who winds up No. 2 packs his bags and leaves the team without a good backup. This has the potential to be a real problem for some teams.

  4. Also, maybe they could move Tucker Brrown back to tight end to shore up that position.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Yeah Brown is a larger guy and played tight end before moving to the offensive line. I think he mainly has been used on the O-Line when Auburn runs the wildcat. Might be a better option. We’ll see this Saturday who gets the nod.

  5. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    I expected to see this occur not only at Auburn but will happen elsewhere to, basically, no one’s shock. I don’t particularly like it but it is what it is. I hope for them the very best.

    War Eagle!!

  6. AUwaterboy AUwaterboy says:

    Every body had to see this coming.

  7. sparkey sparkey says:

    Gasp! You mean the player has some control now and when things aren’t working out they can go where it is best for them?!? How dare they!

  8. zotus zotus says:

    Just another step, ATM, toward putting NCAA-FB under the control of so-called street agents and the long reach & deep pockets of the multi-national athletic gear corporations … and, of course “BIG TV.”

    NCAA-BB has already been turned into a 1-year minor league for the NBA and off-shore professional BB leagues.

    NCAA P5 Colleges and P5 NCAA coaches (can we say 99.9% of them) are already on the payroll of the multi-national athletic gear corporations. And, as we at Auburn are so painfully aware some NCAA coaches have been turned into nothing less than disposable bag-men in this corrupt enterprise.

    And, no I’m not forgetting about the billions of dollars that flow down to the NCAA P5 Colleges and P5 NCAA coaches from “BIG TV” — who may have the dirtiest hands of all in this drama foisted upon NCAA fans.

    In our lifetimes, ATM, college sports have gone Pro — they have gone to “The Show!!!”

    The horror. The horror. And, sadly there’s probably more to come.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      And sadly, I believe your right. Kids used to want to play for a school they loved or grew up following. Now for a lot of those 4-5 star athletes it’s about where can I build the stats to have the best chance to get to the NFL.

      • zotus zotus says:

        No doubt that (for better or for worse) long gone are the days when a kid who grew up dreaming of wearing the burnt orange & navy blue, or (God forbid) the silver britches of the dawgs, ended up playing on most Saturdays in Auburn or Athens.

        We’ve said goodbye to those days, ATM, for the reason you mentioned: The kids who are 4-5 star by their senior year have a much more powerful force in their young lives: the dream of playing in the NFL.
        The 4-5 star kids probably all have wanna-be “advisors” by the dozens, some the kid listens to, some he doesn’t. With this new NCAA rule, we will see a multitude of a new type of “advisors” sweep in and start advising the 4-5 stars on every move the kid makes in his football career — including what moves the kid makes and when the kid makes them, while the kid still has NCAA college football eligibility. This NCAA rule will drastically change the landscape of college football, and not in a good way.
        These individuals that I call “Advisors to the 4-5 Stars” are called-out by Sports Illustrated in an article entitled: “The NCAA’s Rules Gave Rise to a Generation of Pimps. Here’s How It Can Clean Them Up”
        Here’s an excerpt from SI piece:
        It could get even more interesting if the FBI turn their attention to football, which is much bigger and much more lucrative than basketball. The difference is football might not be nearly as sexy. Agents aren’t as interested in high schoolers as they are in basketball because the NFL’s three-year rule gives them time to evaluate and zero in on the best prospects once they reach college. So rather than agents and executives of global conglomerates, the pimps in football are an army of small-time hustlers—sometimes parents, sometimes high school or seven-on-seven coaches, oftentimes simple hangers-on—who pimp the players to schools for pennies on the dollar relative to the players’ actual market value. The schools have tried to create rules to stop this, with mixed results.
        (NOTE: Obviously, IMHO, this new NCAA rule will make the “High-Roller-Agents” just as interested in high school 4-5 Star football players as they are now in high school 4-5 Star basketball players. And, the consequences will be that depth will be impossible to build the way UA & UGA is doing it now (wonder what Saban & Smart will say about that) … and, any football player that you have on the team this year, might be on a different college team next year. Most coaches (even in the SEC) will have to build a new team every year based on the players you have left, after the others have transferred to another school. I hope I’m reading this new NCAA rule incorrectly.)
        I recommend the SI article for all TET readers.
        Here’s the link:

        • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

          …..Just now had time to read this. Thought provoking stuff. As to rebuilding rosters, there’s already a good bit of turnover coaches have to deal with, every year.

          …..The train of that thought has some parallels in the weed/pot world. Legalize it, regulate it and eliminate a lot of the corruption of the black market? Or is the activity just too morally bankrupt for a governing body to sanction.

          …..Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking sides on either issue. Just thinking about it. What I do know is that this week, Auburn lost two of its best blockers, both of them starters, and the resulting offense was pretty putrid against the likely cellar-dweller of the SEC West.

          • zotus zotus says:

            Yeah Acid, the light has been let in on the NCAA magic, and it ain’t pretty. It ain’t even smoke & mirrors. It’s about a battle for power with billions of dollars at stake and all the corruption and collateral damage that kind of situation brings.

            I align with the closing sentiments expressed in the SI article:
            1. The NCAA schools make the NCAA rules.
            2. Perhaps it will take more charges for more coaches, more agents and more apparel company executives to spur meaningful change. But this is going to have a long tail. It’s probably going to get much, much worse. So maybe now it’s time to start seeking solutions to ensure college sports stays out of the FBI’s crosshairs in the future.
            3. Sanctimonious statements won’t fix anything. This investigation will shine a light on the shadow market. Once it gets completely illuminated, it’s time to consider some new rules that dismantle rather than enable it.
            … and, BTW I look forward to your assessment of the game with the hogs.

            FWIW: no one would deny that, … “(Auburn’s) offense was pretty putrid against the likely cellar-dweller of the SEC West.”
            But, thinking back, I’d say Auburn’s offense has been pretty putrid since 2014. Just saying.

  9. Tiger4Life says:

    So Nate Craig Myers was the #2 rated receiver in the entire receiver class of 2016. He finished his Auburn CAREER with 22 catches for 394 yards and 4 TD’s.
    By contrast- the #2 receiver (in the country) THIS YEAR has 39 catches for 511 yards and 4 TD’s– through 5 games! He plays for Colorado State.

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