In what could be a groundbreaking change to college sports, the NCAA will formally consider a one-time transfer with no penalty across all sports, including football and men's basketball.
The NCAA announced on Tuesday afternoon that its Transfer Waiver Working Group is considering a concept that, if adopted, would allow Division I student-athletes in all sports to transfer one time and receive immediate eligibility at their new program. The working group's goal is to have the new criteria approved for transfers in the 2020-21 academic year.
This comes after the Big Ten proposed legislation in October that would expand the one-time transfer exception to all sports, and just one day after the ACC released a statement declaring unanimous support for the one-time transfer.
“The current system is unsustainable. Working group members believe it’s time to bring our transfer rules more in line with today’s college landscape,” said working group chair Jon Steinbrecher, commissioner of the Mid-American Conference. “This concept provides a uniform approach that is understandable, predictable and objective. Most importantly, it benefits students.”
The model under consideration would allow athletes across all sports immediate eligibility after one transfer provided that student-athletes receive a transfer release from their previous school, leaves their previous school academically eligible, maintains their academic progress at the new school and leaves under no disciplinary suspension.
Under the current rules, student-athletes in football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and men's hockey must sit out a year after a transfer to another Division I program, unless they are granted a waiver from the NCAA or are a graduate transfer. The NCAA's 20 other sports, however, already allow a one-time transfer.
If the new proposal is approved in April, the waiver process will remain in place for student-athletes who have transferred previously or otherwise do not qualify for the one-time transfer guidelines. Per the NCAA's release, the working group believes that waiver process “should be limited to truly extenuating and unique circumstances that threaten a student-athlete’s health and safety (for example, if the student-athlete is a victim of physical/sexual assault).”