The first preseason football game is already in the books and the first high school football games will be played next Friday. The beginning of the college football season is just three weeks away and every Saturday will be alive with fall spirit and festivities.

High school football on Friday nights and NFL Sundays are hard to beat but college Saturdays are very special.

A lot of discussions have gone on during the administrator’s meetings this summer. The NCAA has been evaluating the transfer rules from one school to another. In some NCAA sports, the athletes can use a one-time exception rule to transfer and continue to play without sitting out for a year.

That rule does not apply to football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and men’s ice hockey. The athletes in these sports must sit out a full year. The rule seems designed to prevent the student-athlete from transferring to play at a different school.

It is a heated topic. One school of thought is that the athlete should honor his or her commitment to the school that recruited them out of high school. The other school of thought is in support of the right of the athlete to transfer to any school just like all other students – why should the student athlete be treated differently?

It presents a huge dilemma for NCAA athletics. It would be a difficult task for a coaching staff to develop a roster for their team every year if players transfer at will. On the other hand, a young athlete may realize that the culture of their chosen college may not be a good fit.

The transfer question has grown even bigger over the past 10 years because graduate transfers have become extremely popular. These transfers can play at another school right away if the school transferred from does not offer a graduate program. An outsider can clearly see both sides of the argument.

The NCAA and member schools make huge amounts of money in high revenue sports. The athlete can be a pawn in this money machine. It would be very hard to build a great athletic program without some type of structure to deal with the transfer issue. A problem with the whole transfer issue is that an athlete is subject to a one-year penalty if they decide to transfer but the same rule does not apply to an NCAA coach in a major sport. A coach can leave a school for millions of more dollars anytime they like with very little notice to their existing school. It is an obvious double standard.

This is where the NCAA shows its colors. The need to keep the money train running keeps the student-athletes treated much differently than anyone else in the college sports machine. The student-athlete is the fuel that makes programs so exciting but they have very little freedom within the system to control their own destiny.

Not every 18-year-old will make the exact right decision on the school that fits their education and athletic needs out of high school. Each player does have to try to meet the expectations of every athletic program they decide to attend. However, young people do make mistakes and they deserve the opportunity to correct that mistake.

The idea of allowing a one-time transfer for every level in all sports would seem to be a logical way to be fair to all parties. It works in all sports except for the big money makers. It looks like the NCAA has one set of rules for non-money sports and another set of rules for revenue producing sports.

The NCAA always talks a good game that it is all about the student-athlete. It may not always be the case. Major Division I programs are very competitive, but the good programs will continue to attract athletes. The transfer question will continue to be something for everyone to watch in NCAA sports for the next few years because more and more student- athletes are considering the transfer option.

The NCAA has totally controlled every part of an athlete’s life in the history of college sports. In the last 10 years athletes are beginning to stand up for themselves. We now see Division I athletes being treated as people who have the same rights as other students. Some college coaches are saying that there is not really anything you can do if a player really wants to transfer. The one-time transfer rule should be just that – only one time. It would be a total mess if the student-athletes could transfer at will.

Everyone can make a mistake in a college choice but transferring at will is not the answer either.

• The Royals are really going to be tested without the services of all-star catcher Salvador Perez. The team does not have a lot of room for error to make the playoffs in 2017. The offense and defense will both be affected by this untimely loss. We will see who can rise to the occasion to hold the fort until Salvy returns.

• Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. It proves that money can buy you anything.

• My quote of the week comes from comes from Hall of Fame NFL coach Chuck Noll: “Some place along your life, you are going to have to function in a pressure situation and if you can learn to do it in a game where the results are not life and death, you can come to a situation where it is life and death and be better able to cope.”           

– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at t.crone@comcast.net.