The NCAA’s Division I Council officially approved a new one-time transfer rule Thursday, with the piece of legislation still needing to cross another hurdle before it is complete.
The Division I Board of Directors now must approve the plan when it meets on April 28.
If final approval is met, the new rule would be in place for the 2021-22 academic year.
“Allowing student-athletes a one-time opportunity to transfer and compete immediately provides a uniform, equitable and understandable approach that benefits all student-athletes,” council vice chair Jon Steinbrecher said in a release. “The decision is consistent with Division I’s goal of modernizing its rules to prioritize student-athlete opportunity and choice.”
Under the new rule, approval for all first-time transfers from four-year schools would be allowed provided they receive a transfer release from their previous school, leave their previous school academically eligible, maintain their academic progress at the new school and leave under no disciplinary suspension.
Previously, a player who transferred would have to sit out a year before participating in football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and men’s ice hockey, unless that player received a waiver from the NCAA.
Transferring between schools among student athletes was rampant even before the rule. There are currently more than 1,400 Division I men’s basketball players in the transfer portal.
“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,” working group chair Jon Steinbrecher, commissioner of the Mid-American Conference, said in a February. “This dynamic has strained the waiver process, which was designed to handle extenuating and extraordinary circumstances.”
Players who wish to transfer and be eligible for fall/winter sports of the following school year would have to enter the transfer portal by May 1. For spring sports athletes, there would be a July 1 deadline to enter the portal.