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New Transfer Model Would Reduce Eligibility Consequences

In the wake of last summer’s highly publicized transfer battles, the news that the NCAA was looking at changing the transfer rules was refreshing. What appeared to be an inconsistent standard for waivers along with student-athletes needed permission to contact other schools lead to a popular backlash against the NCAA’s transfer regulations, a sentiment that was echoed by NCAA President Mark Emmert.

Popular opinion seemed to settle on a model where coaches would have more limited ability to block a transfer, and no waivers or exceptions to the normal requirement that athletes sit out for a year. This would allow freedom of movement while still providing a consequence for athletes who transfer. At their meeting in October, the Division I Leadership Council went another direction.

There is no formal proposal yet, but the Leadership Council published a set of principles for updated transfer rules that make it easy to see what those specific rules might be. In summary, the principles establish a model where:

  • Athletes would still need to get permission to contact another school before transferring. But permission would be tied to practice and competition, not athletics aid. So even if permission was denied, the student-athlete would still be able to receive a scholarship.
  • Athletes who qualify for the transfer exemption in the APR would be permitted to play immediately at the new school. That would make a 2.600 GPA the magic number to play immediately.
  • Athletes who do not qualify to play immediately at the next school would still receive an extension of their five-year clock so they can use all their eligibility.
  • Tampering with an athlete by another school would be considered a severe breach of conduct, a Level I violation, the highest in the NCAA’s new enforcement structure.

The transfer model will once again be taken up by the Leadership Council at the NCAA Convention in January. The published timeline for the legislation has a proposal being put before the Board of Directors in August 2013. The new rules would likely become effective for athletes starting at a new school on or after August 1, 2014.

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