Saban: Granting transfer waivers has created 'free agency' in college football
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Alabama head coach Nick Saban criticized the NCAA's "very liberal" approach to granting transfer waivers Wednesday at SEC Media Days.

Saban took issue with the recent increase in transferring players who've been approved to immediately play for their new teams, arguing it's essentially created an open market for college football.

"The issue with the transfer portal is we've gotten very liberal in giving people waivers, so, when we do that, it becomes free agency, which I don't think is good for college football. I don't think it's good for fans," Saban said, according to Sam Cooper of Yahoo Sports.

The six-time national championship coach - who didn't take exception to the transfer portal itself - believes it should be mandatory for transfers to sit out a year.

"If we're going to have a transfer portal that's good for the players, then we ought to have a rule that says, regardless of what happens when you transfer, you have to sit out a year. That's how it's been for years and years and years,” Saban said. "At one point in time, there was 65 waivers that were given. So everybody's expectation is I can transfer and get a waiver. And I don't think that's a good thing."

The high-profile approvals given to quarterbacks Justin Fields and Tate Martell earlier this year, in particular, shone a spotlight on the NCAA's inconsistent standards.

In June, the organization voted to tighten its guidelines regarding transfer waivers.

Transferring athletes were previously required to demonstrate "documented mitigating circumstances outside of the student-athlete's control" that "directly (impact) the health, safety, or well-being of the student-athlete."

However, under the revised language, players must now provide "extenuating" and "extraordinary" proof to be awarded a waiver.

The number of waiver requests jumped up from 163 to 256 across all college sports in the year since the portal's introduction last October, according to data provided to The Associated Press by the NCAA in May.

The approval rate, however, dropped from 82 percent to 66 percent from 2017-18 to 2018-19.

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Saban: Granting transfer waivers has created 'free agency' in college football
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