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Wishing safe travels to ‘Suitcase Charlie’ Moore, who is heading to his fourth NCAA team

Will all this transferring create mild chaos in college hoops? Yes, of course. Did players start this? Hell, no.

Then-DePaul guard Charlie Moore drives to the basket against Creighton guard Marcus Zegarowski in the first half during an NCAA game in Omaha, Neb. on Feb. 24, 2021. Moore is transferring from DePaul to Miami, his fourth school, for his final year of eligibility.
Then-DePaul guard Charlie Moore drives to the basket against Creighton guard Marcus Zegarowski in the first half during an NCAA game in Omaha, Neb. on Feb. 24, 2021. Moore is transferring from DePaul to Miami, his fourth school, for his final year of eligibility.
John Peterson/AP

DePaul basketball player — excuse me, former DePaul basketball player — Charlie Moore is transferring from the Blue Demons to Miami for the 2021-22 season.

This will be Moore’s fourth Division I team in five years. He started at Cal, then moved to Kansas, then to DePaul and now down to Miami.

Actually, it will be his fifth Division I school if you count the fact that in November 2015, at the start of his senior year at Morgan Park High School, he signed a letter-of-intent to play at Memphis.

In the spring of 2016, the 5-11 point guard was named Mr. Illinois Basketball. Shortly after that, Moore dumped Memphis for Cal.

The way I look at it, Moore is on a dribbling road trip to see the entire United States. From Chicago to Berkeley, California, to Lawrence, Kansas, to Chicago to Miami, then back home to Chicago (someday) is, according to my Trippy.com research, 7,225 miles.

May we call him ‘‘Suitcase Charlie’’?

The reason Moore transferred at the start was because of a coaching change. He averaged 12.2 points and 3.5 assists for Cal before coach Cuonzo Martin abruptly left for Missouri. So Moore split for Kansas, sat out a year to fulfill NCAA transfer rules, then didn’t play much the next season, averaging only 13 minutes and 2.9 points.

His father, Curtis, had suffered a stroke, and Moore at least was closer to home at Kansas for visits to see his dad — 548 miles compared with 2,117 miles at Cal.

Then he came back to Chicago to be near his wheelchair-bound dad, signing with DePaul and playing well for coach Dave Leitao for two seasons, even being named to the 2020 preseason All-Big East team.

But Leitao was fired last month, and off ‘‘Suitcase Charlie’’ went again. The guy is 23 (even if he looks 15), and if there were no NCAA rules, it seems he might play college ball until he’s gray and lame. Remember, there’s New England, Alaska and — Aloha! — Hawaii yet to explore.

Critics say Moore’s unanchored movement is the stuff that creates the destabilization of high-level college sports and ruins the beauty and moral certitude of time-honored amateur student-athlete competition.

To which I say, after sustained belly laughter, moral certitude? Student-athletes? Amateur?

Oh, you like your rosters firmly set well before the Big Dance, so you can get proper bets down with DraftKings and FanDuel?

And you like that college players are beholden to teams, while their coaches come and go (and get fired and hired) like seeds on a dandelion?

And that amateurism works well, as long as it’s only coaches, athletic directors, sponsors, TV networks, betting parlors and hangers-on who are pros and can make millions?

Got it.

Miami, where Moore soon will be, lost four of its own players to transfer because the NCAA recently dropped its sit-out-a-season requirement and players are on the move everywhere. Reports say 1,280 college basketball players entered the transfer portal this spring.

Why did the NCAA drop the sit-out-a-year rule? Likely because it’s about 100% illegal.

Will this create mild chaos in college hoops? Yes, of course.

Did players start this? Hell, no.

Who professionalized and sold every aspect of big-time college sports? Stand up and bow, university presidents, chancellors, board trustees, athletic directors, coaches, marketers, boosters, fans and ankle-tapers.

Funny how we make determinations about who should get what in this world. Boeing, the airplane company, laid off thousands of workers last year and reported a $12 billion loss, yet CEO David Calhoun was rewarded with $21.1 million. According to the New York Times, Hilton Hotels lost $720 million in 2020, but chief executive Chris Nassetta raked in $55.9 million. Freedom!

Many NCAA rules are restrictive, and they must go. The rulebook is a big, bloated joke. Somehow, it will be done someday.

In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing opening arguments Wednesday in NCAA v. Alston, with amateurism, compensation for players and possible restraint of free trade in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act being at the core of the suit. Former college football and basketball players, led by former West Virginia running back Shawne Alston, are the plaintiffs.

We’ll see what happens. You never can trust judges to be unbiased. Remember, they all went to college and are all fans.

Until then, you go, ‘‘Suitcase Charlie’’! Safe travels.