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DI Council approves transfer resolution

Members resolve to adopt legislation by January

The Division I Council approved a resolution Wednesday that outlined its intention to adopt by January a comprehensive legislative package creating uniform, modernized rules governing eligibility after transfer for student-athletes in all sports.

The resolution was recommended by the Transfer Waiver Working Group, which earlier this year had proposed a change to waiver guidelines that would have accomplished the same goal but through the waiver process instead of through a legislative change. Last month, the Division I Board of Directors indicated it preferred a legislative change and lifted the moratorium it had placed on transfer eligibility proposals last fall.

“The transfer environment has long been an issue of much discussion in Division I. The Division I Council is committed to a uniform and equitable approach to transfer rules that considers student-athlete well- being and the opportunities available after transfer,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania. “We will not simply change the rule, but we will consider a comprehensive package designed to address the multiple complexities involved.”

The Council committed to work with conferences, schools, the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Division I Committee on Academics and other committees to form a permanent legislative solution

Currently, Division I rules permit student-athletes in all sports except baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, football and men’s ice hockey to immediately compete after a first transfer. Reliance on the waiver process for student-athletes in those five sports has put enormous strain on a historically collaborative process built to handle extenuating circumstances. 

The resolution called the waiver process “an unsustainable method to achieve lasting stability, consistency and transparency within the transfer environment” and declared it was “never designed to accommodate sustained requests for relief from a rule without actually changing the rule.”

The comprehensive package will address issues that impact transfer, including academic requirements, roster management considerations, transfer notification dates, accountability measures for schools that accept transfer students, and additional education on the transfer rules and process. The Committee on Academics will provide its guidance to any academic aspects of the package.

Jon Steinbrecher, chair of the Transfer Waiver Working Group, said that group offered to help develop any legislative and policy package necessary over the coming months.

“The Transfer Waiver Working Group members are ready to assist as the division works toward developing a comprehensive solution,” Steinbrecher said. “We have developed a detailed understanding of the waiver process and believe that knowledge will be valuable as the division moves toward a permanent legislative solution.”

To be considered in the 2020-21 legislative cycle, proposals must be introduced into the cycle by Nov. 1.