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Transfer Feedback Yields Range of Opinion

At its April 2014 meeting, the NCAA Division I Leadership Council will once again take up the issue of undergraduate transfers in football, basketball, baseball, and men’s ice hockey. At issue is whether athletes who transfer in sports without the one-time transfer exception should be allowed to receive waivers to compete immediately upon transferring. The transfer issues subcommittee produced a recommendation that would provide for extensions of an athlete’s five-year clock rather than a waiver of the transfer regulations. That recommendation was narrowly defeated at the January 2014 Leadership Council meeting, but was sent to the membership for consideration with a delayed effective date of August 2015.

The feedback received (Supplement 2 of the pdf) was generally in favor of change. 17 of the 31 conferences that responded supported the recommendation. Only four (Big Ten, Pac–12, Patriot League, and WCC) supported the status quo, with waivers that grant immediate eligibility. The rest were divided or favored some other change. Some conferences submitted more detailed feedback as well, which raised some interesting ideas.

  • The ACC raised concern about negative PR fallout from denying immediate eligibility to athletes who have suffered a hardship and the possibility of restricting this change to only some of the five sports included.
  • The Big South supported the change to the waiver system but also wanted the Leadership Council to consider loosening the general transfer rules, in line with some of the original ideas when the transfer review started.
  • The Pac–12 noted its support for looser transfer rules generally so it opposed the subcommittee’s recommendation as more restrictive.
  • The WAC, which fell into the divided category, raised the issue of ill family members potentially needing to make it through another year to see the athlete compete. APR concerns were also noted as well.

What will not be considered at the April meeting is an change to the graduate transfer waiver or exception. In January the Leadership Council considered a change to the graduate transfer waiver in line with the changes to undergraduate transfer waivers (i.e. no immediate eligibility but a clock extension instead). After discussion, the council decided to table graduate transfers and allow the full membership to work on the issue after the new governance structure was in place.

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