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DI Council adjusts transfer waiver guidelines

Rule applies to those who don’t qualify for one-time exception

The Division I Council approved new waiver guidelines for student-athletes who aren’t eligible for the one-time transfer exception adopted last month. The new guidelines would apply to anyone who doesn’t meet the criteria for the one-time transfer exception, including students wishing to transfer a second time.

The new guidelines will take effect for student-athletes in January 2022, for those who would be requesting a transfer waiver to compete immediately in 2022-23. Current guidelines will apply for student-athletes seeking a waiver to compete in 2021-22.

In order to compete immediately after a second transfer, a student must meet either the current education-impacting disability guideline or an updated guideline that addresses a “real and imminent health and safety” threat.

The disability guideline requires the transferring student to provide documentation showing that the student-athlete needs support services and/or treatment that was unavailable or inadequate at the previous school but available at the school to which they are transferring.

The health and safety guideline requires schools to provide timely, objective documentation demonstrating that the transfer was due to unique, extenuating and extraordinary circumstances outside the student’s control and caused by an imminent threat to the student’s health or safety.

“These guidelines provide an opportunity for student-athletes with the greatest need to transfer and compete immediately,” said Working Group on Transfers chair and Council vice chair Jon Steinbrecher, commissioner of the Mid-American Conference. “The delayed effective date is the fairest way to accommodate student-athletes who entered the Transfer Portal with the current waiver guidelines in place.”

The current postgraduate transfer waiver process remains in place, and the working group will continue to examine the most appropriate way to address student-athletes who have transferred, graduate and wish to continue their eligibility at another school.

Name, image and likeness

Council members discussed the name, image and likeness proposals currently in the system, including the effective date and potential plan for adoption.

Provided it is feasible to do so, the Council is expected to act on legislative proposals regarding name, image and likeness during its June 22-23 meeting. Having the legislation in place by July 1 would provide greater consistency in the name, image and likeness opportunities available to student-athletes nationally as state laws become effective on or around July 1. 

The Council expressed general support for amending the effective date of the proposals from Aug. 1, 2021, to July 1, 2021, or immediately if action is taken after July 1.  

Football preseason and prohibited drills

Council members made changes to football preseason practice to protect the health and safety of student-athletes while providing the opportunity to prepare them for the football season. The Division I Football Oversight Committee recommended the adjustments, and they are effective immediately.

The modifications were informed by a number of data points that suggest the preseason practice period may lead to a disproportionate amount of concussions and head impact exposure, including, among others, information from NCAA member conferences, the NCAA injury surveillance program and the NCAA-Department of Defense Concussion Assessment, Research and Education Consortium. The changes include:

  • Prohibiting athletic activities, such as drills that encourage or create straight-line contact, as specified in policies and procedures established and maintained by the Division I Football Oversight Committee and the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports. This prohibition applies year-round, not just during the preseason.
  • Reducing the maximum number of contact practices from 21 to 18 and restricting full-pads days to nine.
  • Increasing the acclimatization period from five to seven days.
  • Additional limits on full-contact practices, including no more than two consecutive days of full-contact practices, a total of no more than 75 minutes of full contact within any practice session and no more than two scrimmages in the preseason.

Men’s basketball recruiting

Council members also adopted temporary emergency legislation to adjust the men’s basketball recruiting calendar for July 2021. The adjustment established evaluation periods between July 16-18 and July 23-25, while maintaining the originally scheduled evaluation period July 8-11. The change also created a dead period July 19-22. The changes were adopted after the postponement of the 2021 NCAA College Basketball Academy, originally scheduled for July 20-25.

The change is intended to help coaches remain on campus during the week to support current student-athletes and encourage prospective student-athletes to rest in between the evaluation periods on the weekends. Keeping events concentrated on the weekends also helps with travel and logistics for parents and event operators.

The modification is for July 2021 only and will not extend to future years if the College Basketball Academy returns.