NCAA Division I Leadership Council Proposes Transfer Policy Rule Change

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2014

USA Today

The Division I Leadership Council has proposed a new rule that would alter the NCAA's transfer policy, granting players who apply to transfer because of hardship or family circumstances an extra (sixth) year of eligibility if they qualify, according to a press release from

Per the release:

Council members propose that student-athletes who cannot transfer and play immediately without a waiver be allowed a sixth year to complete their four years of eligibility, if they qualify. 

The change would primarily impact student-athletes who play baseball, basketball, bowl subdivision football and men’s ice hockey as well as those in other sports who already used the one-time transfer exception.

These student-athletes would no longer be able to seek a waiver to transfer and compete immediately.

That last part is important. Previously, players who transfer in these circumstances could apply to become eligible immediately—without sitting out the otherwise mandatory year.

An example of this would be now-sophomore defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, who asked to be released from his national letter of intent by Notre Dame in July 2013 so he could transfer to UCLA and be close to a sick family member.

Vanderdoes won his appeal and was allowed to play last season, finishing with 37 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss. Had Vanderdoes lost his appeal, he would have had to sit out last season and would have lost a year of eligibility, per Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports.

Under the new proposed rule, Vanderdoes would not have been able to play last season, but he still would have been granted five years to play four seasons rather than four years to play three.

Amy Huchthausen, chair of the Leadership Council subcommittee that examined the transfer issue, said the following, per the release:

We hope this change will encourage student-athletes who must transfer based on hardships to focus on the circumstances prompting the transfer during their first year and adjust to their new school, while giving them a season back to complete their eligibility.

The proposal will be reviewed by the Division I Board of Directors at its meeting April 24. If passed, the rule would go into effect for the 2015-16 academic year.