NCAA Proposes 1-Time Transfer with Immediate Eligibility for Athletes

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2020

The NCAA logo is painted alongside the visitor dugout at Olsen Field before the start of a NCAA college baseball super regional tournament game between TCU and Texas A&M, Friday, June 10, 2016, in College Station, Texas. TCU won game one of the series 8-2. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
Sam Craft/Associated Press

The NCAA Division I Council has reportedly proposed a rule that will allow athletes to transfer and play immediately without sitting out a season once during their collegiate careers. 

According to Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, the legislation will come up for vote in January 2021, meaning it will be enacted on Aug. 1, 2021, if ratified.

Currently, athletes have to sit out one season after transferring unless they are a graduate transfer or receive a special waiver from the NCAA.

If the rule gets passed, fall and winter sports athletes will have to inform their schools of a transfer by May 1, although extensions can be granted until July 1 if there is a year-end coaching change or non-renewal of a scholarship.

Spring sport athletes will have until July 1 to transfer in order to be eligible for the following season.

One potential limitation included in the legislation is that a player must be academically eligible at their previous school in order to transfer and play immediately at another school.

Athletes will also not be permitted to play for two different schools in the same season, meaning an in-season transfer would require the athlete to wait until the following year to play at a new school.

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The new rule would provide student-athletes with even more power and freedom, which is an area in which the NCAA has made improvements in recent years.

The NCAA created the transfer portal in 2018 and eliminated the longstanding rule of schools being allowed to prevent players from transferring within the conference.

Such a rule change could make for hectic offseasons within college sports, as a star quarterback could conceivably go from playing for a top team one season to a different top team the next.

That type of roster turnover would be reminiscent of the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL, which features a ton of player movement on a year-to-year basis due to free agency and trades.

Transferring is already a fairly common practice for players who don't mesh well with their coaches or want an opportunity for more playing time, but the ability to transfer and play the next season would likely increase transfers even more.