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DI Council proposal would expand transfer exception

All DI student-athletes would get chance to compete immediately after transfer

All Division I student-athletes would have the ability to transfer and compete immediately once during their collegiate experience if a measure introduced by the Division I Council is adopted. The Council met by videoconference Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Council introduced the proposal, recommended by the Working Group on Transfers, into the 2020-21 legislative cycle. The proposal would expand the current one-time transfer exception to all sports. Currently, student-athletes who participate in baseball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s ice hockey are not eligible to transfer and compete immediately without a waiver.

“This proposal creates a uniform, equitable approach for all student-athletes, no matter the sport they play,” said working group chair Jon Steinbrecher, commissioner of the Mid-American Conference and vice chair of the Council. “We believe the proposal fulfills the promise of the transfer resolution adopted by the Council in the spring, and trust the membership will strongly consider bringing consistency and predictability to Division I transfer regulations while treating student-athletes across all sports alike and in a sensible fashion.”

The proposal includes a requirement that both the head coach at the new school and the student-athlete must certify that no tampering took place. It also provides the option for the Council to set deadlines by which student-athletes must provide written notification of transfer to their school: May 1 for fall and winter sport student-athletes and July 1 for spring sport student-athletes. Some exceptions would apply in cases of a head coaching change or cancelled athletics scholarship.

Transferring college athletes also would have to meet progress-toward-degree requirements and be otherwise academically eligible in order to compete after transfer. Schools would be required to educate all student-athletes regarding the impacts and implications of transferring, including academic requirements and financial aid policies. An online module would be created to assist schools with ensuring student-athletes can access this education, which is intended to help student-athletes make informed transfer decisions.

The Council intends to vote on the measure during the 2021 NCAA Convention in January. If approved, it would be effective for student-athletes who seek to be immediately eligible for competition during the 2021-22 academic year.

At the request of the working group, Council members also asked the Division I Committee on Academics to examine the impact of transfers on the APR and how the penalty structure would consider anticipated additional transfers. Additionally, the Council asked the Division I Student-Athlete Experience Committee to examine the concept of guaranteed athletics aid through degree completion for transfer student-athletes.