It’s been an eventful two years for former UConn forward Michael Bradley. After reportedly giving up his scholarship for Andre Drummond, but then not really, Bradley missed the 2011–12 season with an injury. After red-shirting for two straight years at UConn, Bradley left for Western Kentucky. He enrolled in summer school, hoping to get a waiver to play immediately but the NCAA denied the waiver so he left for Vincennes University, a junior college in Indiana.
The result is that Bradley has created a transfer situation that seems confusing, but is ultimately relatively simple. But his road from UConn to Vincennes shows how technical the NCAA’s transfer rules can be.
The first question is whether a move from one school to another counts as a transfer. The answer lies in NCAA Bylaw 14.5.2, Conditions Affecting Transfer Status. If a student-athlete triggers one of the conditions, they are a transfer student if they leave that school and attempt to enroll in another.
Most are pretty basic, like enrolling full-time for a regular term or reporting for practice. In Michael Bradley’s case, his transfer status from UConn is clear, but he might also be considered a transfer from WKU as well based on one of the lesser known transfer conditions:
(h) The student received institutional financial aid while attending a summer term, summer school or summer-orientation program (see Bylaws 220.127.116.11.3 and 18.104.22.168.4). A recruited student who receives institutional aid pursuant to Bylaw 22.214.171.124.4 is subject to the transfer provisions, except that a prospective student-athlete (recruited or nonrecruited) who is denied admission to the institution for full-time enrollment shall be permitted to enroll at another institution without being considered a transfer student.
If Bradley received a basketball scholarship for his summer school courses at WKU, he would be a transfer from both UConn and WKU. He will also presumably be a transfer from Vincennes in the not-to-distant future.
Types of Transfers
The NCAA has three basic types of transfers and four basic sets of transfer rules. 4–4 transfers are transfers from a four-year college to another four-year college. 2–4 transfers are transfers from a two-year college (i.e. a junior or community college) to a four-year college. And 4–2–4 transfers are transfers from a four-year college to a two-year college then to another four-year college.
The heart of the 4–4 transfer rules are a list of exceptions to the NCAA’s requirement that all transfers must spend a year in residence before competing at the new school. The 2–4 transfer rules have two sets of academic conditions to waive that residency requirement, one for qualifiers and one for nonqualifiers. Similar to the 2–4 transfer rules, the 4–2–4 transfer rules are academically based.
In addition to the three basic types of transfers, a student-athlete could add any combination of 4’s and 2’s. When determining eligibility, even the most confusing situation can be broken down to three questions:
1. What was the last transfer, 4–4 or 2–4?
2. Was the athlete ever a 4–2–4 transfer?
3. Did the athlete ever transfer with an unfulfilled residency requirement?
In Michael Bradley’s case, if he trigger transfer status at WKU, he will be a 4–4–2–4 transfer. His (hopefully) last transfer will be a 2–4 transfer. He will be a 4–2–4 transfer. And he would have left WKU with an unfulfilled residency requirement.
4–2–4 Transfer Requirements
When a student-athlete becomes a 4–2–4 transfer, he needs to meet the requirements of Bylaw 14.5.6 to play immediately when he ends up back at a Division I school:
1. Complete an average of 12 credit-hours per term of full-time enrollment at the two-year school;
2. Have one year elapse from the time the student-athlete left the first four-year school; and
3. Graduate from the junior college with an associates degree.
All of this should be relatively straightforward for Bradley. His unfulfilled residency requirement at WKU would also not stand in his way because 4–2–4 transfers are not affected by an unfilled residency requirement (only 4–4 transfers are). There is one potential speed bump though.
In addition to meeting the transfer requirements, Bradley will need to meet the normal academic requirements. There are a number, but most of them are taken care of by meeting the transfer requirements. One though will be a bit tricky for Bradley.
When Bradley returns to Division I next year, he will have finished three years or six semesters of college. That means he will need to have completed 60% of his degree according to Bylaw 126.96.36.199. Normally that’s not an issue but it can be when an athlete transfers to a junior college after his second year.
Junior colleges offer few upper division courses, and normally a student-athlete will need at least a few higher level courses to reach 60% degree progress in most majors. Bradley will need to choose his curriculum well at Vincennes, and his need to reach the degree percentage requirement may affect his choice of school and major.
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