Division I student-athletes across all sports – including basketball and football – could potentially transfer and compete immediately starting in the 2020-21 athletic season.
According to the NCAA, the Transfer Waiver Working Group is considering a move that would allow for athletes to transfer to a school of their choosing and compete right away, if adopted by the Division I Council.
“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.”
According to the official release, the working group concept would change waiver criteria to allow approvals for first-time four-year transfers in all sports to compete immediately if they:
- Receive a transfer release from their previous school.
- Leave their previous school academically eligible.
- Maintain their academic progress at the new school.
- Leave under no disciplinary suspension.
This criteria is already allowed for student-athletes who compete in all sports other than basketball, football, baseball, and ice hockey.
“More than a third of all college students transfer at least once, and the Division I rule prohibiting immediate competition for students who play five sports hasn’t discouraged them from transferring,” Steinbrecher said. “This dynamic has strained the waiver process, which was designed to handle extenuating and extraordinary circumstances.”
Some of the issues the decision-makers are dealing with regarding this case? The potential for tampering, among others hurdles they’d have to clear and find clarity with.
“We know that challenges will exist with this concept, particularly as it relates to other coaches potentially tampering with currently enrolled student-athletes,” Steinbrecher said. “The working group will continue to examine this, as well as any potential financial aid and academic impacts, so the Council can make a fully informed decision.”
According to the report, involved group members believe this 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) while recognizing the impact multiple transfers have on the likelihood that a student-athlete graduates.”
The working group will now seek feedback from Division I members, with the idea being that this would be approved in the 2020-21 academic year.
Would fans be okay with the opportunity for John Calipari, for instance, to seek out an elite transfer across all of college basketball, even if it meant some of the nation’s elite football programs could poach some of Mark Stoops’ best players on a year-to-year basis?