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Division I Transfer change could come this week

By Michelle Brutlag Hosick

Some student-athletes who transfer schools could gain an extra year to complete their eligibility if a recommendation by a Division I Leadership Council subcommittee studying the issue is eventually approved by the Board of Directors.

The subcommittee will recommend to the full Leadership Council at this week’s NCAA Convention that student-athletes who do not have the ability to transfer and play immediately without a waiver be allowed a sixth year to complete their four years of eligibility.  (This primarily impacts those who play baseball, basketball, bowl subdivision football and men’s ice hockey as well as those in other sports who already availed themselves of the one-time transfer exception). Student-athletes would still need to present some form of mitigation, such as a serious family illness, to be eligible for the extension. 

If the recommendation is adopted, student-athletes who fit the specific criteria would no longer be issued waivers to play immediately, beginning with those who transfer for the 2014-15 academic year and thereafter.

The subcommittee made its recommendation in part to reduce concerns about abuse of the waiver process and the perception that it is inconsistent. Some members also noted that student-athletes who transfer due to an ill family member, for example, might be better served spending time with that family member rather than traveling and competing. Other members noted that people cope with personal hardship in different ways, and the distraction of competition might assist some student-athletes.

The change, a procedural one that does not require legislative action, could apply to both undergraduate and graduate student-athletes who currently require a waiver to transfer and compete immediately, though the recommendations will be submitted separately to allow for discussion. 

Student-athletes who transfer after graduation and meet specific criteria already outlined in the legislation would still be eligible to transfer and compete immediately without seeking a waiver. Those who would be affected by this policy change are the small numbers who don’t meet the legislated criteria.

America East Conference Commissioner Amy Huchthausen chaired the subcommittee that began examining transfer issues a year ago.

“We evaluated what we’ve learned in the last year and hope to bring some sort of resolution to this issue,” Huchthausen said. “Our recommendation for undergraduate students is unanimous. The discussion of graduate student transfers who don’t meet the rules already in place was not as clear cut, but in the end, the committee favored a consistent approach to both graduate and undergraduate transfers. We look forward to the full Leadership Council discussion on both recommendations.”

Huchthausen said the subcommittee hopes the Leadership Council will forward a recommendation to the Board of Directors for immediate approval. 

“Many student-athletes are going to be making transfer decisions in March,” Huchthausen said. “If everyone is on board, a timeline for approval this week will allow the membership and, most importantly, student-athletes, the opportunity to make truly informed decisions about transfer and what realistic opportunities there might be for eligibility before the semester ends.  This would be an important change and we want to ensure student-athletes and coaches are not caught off-guard. “

The Leadership Council meets Jan. 16. Any recommendation could be sent to the board for approval at that body’s meeting Jan. 18.

 

Legislative Relief Waivers

July 2011-June 2012

Total Waivers

Approved

Denied

Cancelled

Undergraduate Transfers

212

122

83

7

Graduate Transfers

41

39

2

0

July 2011-June 2012

Football

Approved

Denied

Cancelled

Undergraduate Transfers

68

37

29

2

Graduate Transfers

6

6

0

0

July 2011-June 2012

Men’s Basketball

Approved

Denied

Cancelled

Undergraduate Transfers

52

34

18

0

Graduate Transfers

8

7

1

0

July 2011-June 2012

Baseball

Approved

Denied

Cancelled

Undergraduate Transfers

28

17

11

0

Graduate Transfers

6

6

0

0

July 2011-June 2012

Womens Basketball

Approved

Denied

Cancelled

Undergraduate Transfers

14

9

4

1

Graduate Transfers

2

2

0

0

July 2011-June 2012

All Other Sports

Approved

Denied

Cancelled

Undergraduate Transfers

50

26

20

4

Graduate Transfers

19

18

1

0

 

July 2012-June 2013

Total Waivers

Approved

Denied

Cancelled

Undergraduate Transfers

236

127

106

3

Graduate Transfers

48

42

5

1

July 2012-June 2013

Football

Approved

Denied

Cancelled

Undergraduate Transfers

76

34

40

2

Graduate Transfers

13

10

2

1

July 2012-June 2013

Men’s Basketball

Approved

Denied

Cancelled

Undergraduate Transfers

62

39

23

0

Graduate Transfers

16

15

1

0

July 2012-June 2013

Baseball

Approved

Denied

Cancelled

Undergraduate Transfers

20

11

9

0

Graduate Transfers

3

3

0

0

July 2012-June 2013

Womens Basketball

Approved

Denied

Cancelled

Undergraduate Transfers

32

16

16

0

Graduate Transfers

3

3

0

0

July 2012-June 2013

All Other Sports

Approved

Denied

Cancelled

Undergraduate Transfers

46

27

18

1

Graduate Transfers

13

11

2

0