Tom Izzo says mental health 'big reason' for transfer waivers

Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo said he has "no faith" in the NCAA's plan to limit the immediate eligibility exceptions for two-time transfers because players will continue to use issues such as mental health to earn waivers.

Izzo, who also said he's against players gaining immediate eligibility if they transfer a second time, made the comments Friday morning on ESPN Radio's "Keyshawn, JWill and Max."

Earlier this year, the NCAA sent a memo to schools that stated players who transfer a second time won't be granted a waiver and will have to sit for a season if they transfer for reasons such as a coaching change or a reduction of playing time. But concerns about "physical and mental health" or "physical or sexual assault" will allow a player to qualify for immediate eligibility.

"I don't have a lot of faith in the NCAA," Izzo said. "This waiver thing. If you've got a hangnail, you get a waiver. I just don't believe in that, because I think somebody, whether it's a lawyer, whether it's agents, whether it's people, they're going to just come up with a different reason. Mental health is a big reason. I just don't see why sitting out is such a bad thing because 90 percent of the kids that are sitting out aren't pros anyway or they'd go pro."

He said the waiver system that grants players immediate eligibility hurts them in the long run because they don't learn to become resilient.

"I'm not for it. I'm not for anything," Izzo said. "I just think we're hurting decisions that kids make. I mean we've got 1,200. By Tuesday, we'll have 1,500, and then we're going to get a second wave of kids in the portal. And kids are going to go places that maybe it's a little bit for the money, maybe it's because they're worried about beating somebody else out. We all had to beat people out ... and I think we're losing that. Where's the competitive edge?"

Izzo also said hundreds of players who enter the transfer portal never get an opportunity to play anywhere. He said the movement impacts the player more than the program.

Those schools, in the future, could be participating in the NCAA tournament with an expanded field. Izzo said he's concerned about the current seeding system -- Michigan State, which made a run to the Sweet 16, earned a No. 7 seed after finishing third in the Big Ten -- and its reliance on metrics. But he's also worried about an expanded field potentially diluting the postseason.

"I don't know if I [would go] to 90 or not," Izzo said. "I'm all for getting more teams in ... but there's something about this tournament that I hope we don't lose. That's the excitement of it, and it doesn't get watered down."