Blue and Gold Illustrated

April 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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8 APRIL 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TODD D. BURLAGE T he name Mike Pegues is presum- ably not a familiar one to most Notre Dame basketball fans. Pegues (pronounced pug-GEESE) has spent the last eight seasons work- ing as an assistant coach, first at Xavier and more recently at Louisville. Before that, Pegues was an assistant coach at his alma mater, the Univer- sity of Delaware. And several years prior to that, he became the best bas- ketball player in Delaware history while playing there from 1996-2000 for Irish head coach Mike Brey. With 2,030 career points, Pegues re- mains the all-time leading scorer for Delaware. He became an America East Conference Player of the Year, a UD Athletics Hall of Fame inductee and a primary reason why Brey was able to parlay his five successful seasons coaching the Fightin' Blue Hens into the more prominent Notre Dame gig. A lot has changed since Brey and Pegues left Delaware in 2000. Today's players routinely transfer. Coaches frequently leave. The grass forever promises to be greener at the next stop. Brey sincerely believes that in to- day's climate with more relaxed trans- fer rules, Pegues wouldn't have lasted four years at Delaware; and therefore Delaware wouldn't have made con- secutive trips to the NCAA Tourna- ment in 1998-99; and therefore Brey's coaching résumé might not have fit Notre Dame's search requirements. "I tell him, 'You would've gone to Villanova or Maryland after your sophomore year, and I never would've got the Notre Dame job," explained Brey, who's in his 20th year as Irish coach. "He laughed, and I go, 'No, I'm serious.' In this climate that's the way it is." The climate changed drastically on Oct. 15, 2018, when student-athletes were allowed to enter their names into a "transfer portal," a tool that allows players — whether they ul- timately stay or go — to freely talk and negotiate with other schools and coaches about the benefits of a trans- fer, all while remaining enrolled at their present school. In less than two years, the transfer portal has pulled into it thousands of Division I players from a variety of sports, which is creating a free- agency feel, so much so that right down to college baseball and softball teams student-athletes are testing the transfer waters with nothing to lose. "Other sports are looking and go- ing, 'Oh, free agency, what the heck, let's check it out,'" said Brey, who as the president this year of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, has become the point man and a sounding board during this impactful period of rewriting relocation rules. Brey's biggest beef with the trans- fer trend is that conferences and the NCAA are more and more making transfers simpler and consequence- free — and almost hard to resist for athletes disgruntled about playing time, or wanting to get closer to home, or based on any other whim- sical reason to relocate. Currently, student-athletes who transfer must obtain a waiver from the NCAA or sit out one full year of competition unless they have already graduated from their original school. Legal wrangling and loopholes are leaving these waiver reviews as little more than a procedural step in a pro- cess that routinely ends with rubber- stamp approval and immediate eligi- bility for the athlete. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields transferred from Georgia in 2019, won his waiver case, played immediately and led the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff. Former Irish quarterback Phil Jurk- UNDER THE DOME TIMES A-CHANGIN' Relaxed transfer rules bringing angst to the Irish and other college coaches Notre Dame men's basketball coach Mike Brey, who lost three players to transfers in less than a year, has expressed his concern of transfer waivers creating a type of free agency in college sports. PHOTO COURTESY FIGHTING ITISH MEDIA

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