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NCAA considering one-time transfer rule for immediate eligibility starting in 2020-21

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?


Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

10 Comments for NCAA considering one-time transfer rule for immediate eligibility starting in 2020-21

  1. Fitz
    5:44 pm February 18, 2020 Permalink

    “Tampering” will be be rampant under this proposed idea and will lead to more violations than the ones associated with recruiting.

  2. Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert
    5:50 pm February 18, 2020 Permalink

    EJ Montgomery is who I thought of when I read about this proposal. He is not good enough to go pro and it is obvious it is not working for him here. Could see him trying to get a fresh start at another school.

    • runningunnin.454
      6:27 pm February 18, 2020 Permalink

      He’s getting to play all he wants here; and, I don’t know if you saw the last game, but he had a team high 8 rebounds, and his hustle play saved us from an embarrassing loss.

  3. TonyMontana
    6:00 pm February 18, 2020 Permalink

    Things may start to get out of hand pretty fast: Transfer to this school and we can get you big time endorsements, our market is huge! I think the landscape of the NCAA may be waaaay different a couple years from now. I’m all for it, but it’s gonna be a bumpy ride figuring all this stuff out.

  4. dcforuk
    6:06 pm February 18, 2020 Permalink

    Wow! Do you think compensating athletes for the right to benefit from their own name, benefit and likeness has significant functional challenges? This rule change has all kinds of challenges though I certainly understand why they are looking at this as a possibility and considering it. Think about all of the dynamics including the ones already mentioned in the comments above. How many first-year players has Coach Cal had that would have transferred if they did not have to sit out a year. “Playing through your pain” and uncertainty is not necessary if you can transfer without sitting out. Somebody above mentioned the football players that UK could lose. That’s a great point too. All these waiver requests have led to a process that is administratively not functional. That is why they are even considering this it sounds like. This is an interesting development to watch closely!

  5. UKCatAttack
    7:28 pm February 18, 2020 Permalink

    I like it. I think it is the right thing to do for the players / students. If a player isn’t happy he/she should leave plain and simple. Why have a player on the team that’s only going to blow up the locker room. I think this will have little to no impact on UK.

    • CJKAssassin123
      7:58 pm February 18, 2020 Permalink

      It could actually help UK in Football and in Basketball.

  6. CJKAssassin123
    7:57 pm February 18, 2020 Permalink

    That could mean Terry might be battling with Gateway for the QB job this coming season.

  7. JASUN74
    8:04 pm February 18, 2020 Permalink

    Jack, what makes you think these kids don’t love Kentucky and want to be here? They’ll be no poaching from Kentucky my friend. Haha. We’ll be the poachers. It’s a shame we can’t get everyone on board with our damn Football program around here.

  8. dcforuk
    9:01 pm February 18, 2020 Permalink

    Systems are (definitionally) perfectly designed to produce what they are producing. When you change a system, by definition, you change the output of the production. The question with this is whether will be material changes or not. Coaches will have to adjust some and I have no doubt that UK’s coaches will make the adjustments. It will be interesting to follow. Re Gatewood from comment above, I guess it just depends if they mean effective AY 20-21 “prospectively” or retroactively to AY 19-20. In JG’s case, hopefully the latter (if it is ultimately adopted).