You are here

All Division I schools must provide independent medical care for student-athletes

Autonomy legislation adopted formally by other schools

The Division I Board of Directors voted Wednesday to require all schools in the division to affirm the unchallengeable autonomous authority of primary athletics health care providers to determine medical management and return-to-play decisions related to student-athletes. By Aug. 1, each school also must designate an athletics health care administrator.

The legislation was adopted by the Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences in 2016. Later that year, the remaining schools in Division I indicated to the NCAA national office that they intended to follow the legislation as well. The Division I legislative process allows schools outside the autonomy conferences to determine whether they will follow rules adopted through the autonomy process.

In October 2018, the board adopted a process to review all health, safety and wellness rules approved by the autonomy conferences to determine whether the remaining conferences wish to adopt the same rules. Earlier this year, the board voted to require schools outside the autonomy conferences to provide mental health resources and education for student-athletes, which the autonomy conferences adopted in January 2019.

The board also placed a moratorium on transfer-related proposals for the 2019-20 legislative cycle to allow time for additional data collection and a review of the waiver process and criteria. Multiple conferences had indicated they intended to introduce transfer-related legislation by the Nov. 1 deadline.

The moratorium means no transfer concepts will be considered in this cycle. The board requested additional data and information be gathered to inform legislation that could be proposed in the 2020-21 cycle:

  • Transfer Portal data, including data on where students in the Transfer Portal enrolled.
  • Impact on students and teams based on potential changes to immediate eligibility requirements upon transfer (such as requiring all student-athletes in all sports to fulfill a year of residence upon transfer or permitting all students, regardless of sport, to avail themselves of a one-time transfer exception and play immediately upon transfer), including potential additional financial costs incurred by students and changes to team financial aid limits.
  • Sport-specific differences.
  • Recommendations from the Committee on Academics regarding possible academic criteria associated with transfer eligibility.

In addition, the board directed a separate working group of membership representatives to conduct a comprehensive review of the four-year college transfer waiver process to be completed by April 2020.

The Division I Council-sponsored proposal that would change academic requirements for graduate students who transfer to complete their eligibility will continue through the regular process.