You are here

Committee on Academics discusses DI transfer rules

Committee prioritizes academics as part of potential changes

The Division I Committee on Academics has provided feedback to the Transfer Working Group, recommending that academics should play a vital role in any forthcoming undergraduate transfer rules that permit immediate eligibility.

When considering exceptions to the year in residence rules for transfers, the committee emphasized that any academic requirements should rely on predictive metrics and correlate to a transfer student’s statistical probability of graduation. The committee agreed that any academic component to transfer requirements should include a combination of cumulative grade-point average and progress-toward-degree benchmarks.

During its Oct. 17-18 meeting in Indianapolis, the committee also discussed the possibility of having different academic requirements depending upon a student’s year in college. The committee noted that preliminary data indicate that underclassmen who transfer have a higher probability of graduating within five years than those who transfer later as upperclassmen.

As part of an examination of the potential for academic standards that would allow Division I student-athletes in all sports to transfer and play immediately, the Committee on Academics’ discussion was guided by data. (The current rule requires a year in residence.) The group reviewed information gleaned from data schools submit through the Academic Performance Program, studies done by the National Student Clearinghouse, the NCAA Growth, Opportunities, Aspirations and Learning of Students in College study as well as other national sources.

 “The committee made good progress in identifying important pieces that will help guide us as we thoughtfully consider the transfer issue,” said committee chair John J. DeGioia, president at Georgetown. “We are committed to devising data-based benchmarks that will support the academic success of student-athletes who wish to transfer.”

Some of the academic benchmarks the committee began considering included a combination of GPA at departure as well as progress toward degree and percentage of degree completion at the school to which a student transfers. The committee also looked at the impact of other factors on a transfer student’s academic success, including enrollment gaps, coaching change and timing of transfer. 

Progress-toward-degree criteria emerged as a point of emphasis for the committee, in large part due to available academic data indicating that student-athletes who have completed their eligibility before earning a degree graduate at lower rates than their peers who complete a degree before their eligibility clocks expire.

After the legislative process is complete, the committee plans to address the impact the transfer changes may have on the NCAA Academic Progress Rate calculation.

The committee has asked NCAA research staff to provide additional data to inform further development of academic benchmarks to be included in formal proposals, and will continue conversations about transfer issues at its meeting in February.

Academic-based revenue distribution

The committee continued its work to implement the new revenue distribution model. Beginning in 2019-20, a portion of Division I revenue will be distributed based on the academic success of a school’s student-athletes. The Committee on Academics is charged with that implementation, which includes assisting that decision-makers on Division I campuses understanding of the new distribution and its impact.

The group resolved another round of operational issues related to the calculations used to identify schools qualifying for the fund. The committee will continue to finalize the academic unit in time for the first round of mock reports to be available in spring 2018.