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DI to review transfer rules

New group to focus on academic issues, graduation

Beginning this spring, a new group will study Division I transfer rules to consider where improvements can be made. The work of the Division I Transfer Working Group will be guided by a presidential perspective from the Division I Board of Directors and the Presidential Forum.

The group will focus on supporting the academic success of both graduate and undergraduate students as a primary goal. It will be led by chair Justin Sell, a member of the Division I Council and athletics director at South Dakota State, and vice chair Jane Miller, a member of the board and faculty athletics representative at Virginia.

“Transfer issues can be very complex. This group is comprised of experienced leaders who will examine the issue with the best interest of student-athletes in mind,” Sell said. “We look forward to collaborating on this issue with the more than 50 presidents and chancellors who serve on both the DI Board of Directors and the Presidential Forum, who will offer their top-level perspective.”

Sell acknowledged the thorniness of the transfer issue, which has been studied in several ways since 2012. In 2014, the board approved a change to the waiver process to allow transfer students to receive a sixth year to complete four years of eligibility. That change also eliminated the ability for transfers to seek waivers to compete immediately.

After a second working group focused on graduate transfer students throughout 2015 and early 2016, legislation was introduced to enhance postgraduate academic eligibility requirements for all graduate students who compete in athletics. The same legislation adds a layer of Academic Progress Rate accountability for graduate students. The legislation was adopted by the Council last week.

This latest group has been formed with members from many different committees within the governance structure, as well as coaches and student-athletes. The board provided the group’s charge and guiding principles, which include the prioritization of academic success and graduation and an expectation that its decisions will be driven by data. The group will focus on academic success and graduation and will aim for a uniform experience for all student-athletes, unless data justify a different standard for certain groups.

This group will be the third to examine transfer issues since 2012. Each of the earlier efforts produced some significant changes, but neither assuaged the ongoing and underlying concerns from member schools about how the evolving transfer environment affects not only the competitive balance of Division I but also the overall well-being of student-athletes.

The new group will be informed by several tools not available to earlier groups, including more robust data, feedback collected during the earlier reviews and the strategic leadership of the presidents on both the board and the Presidential Forum.

The group expects to finalize legislative recommendations before the June 2018 Council meeting.

Transfer Working Group Roster


Gary Barta
Athletics director
Iowa, Big Ten Conference
Jeri Beggs
Faculty athletics representative
Illinois State, Missouri Valley Conference
Ross Bjork
Athletics director
Ole Miss, Southeastern Conference
Jacqueline Blackett
Senior associate athletics director
Columbia, Ivy League
Nicholas Clark
Coastal Carolina
Christine Copper
Faculty athletics representative
Navy, Patriot League
Garret Covington
Western Illinois
Charity Elliott
Women’s basketball coach
Loyola Marymount, West Coast Conference
Rick George
Athletics director
Colorado, Pac-12 Conference
Dru Hancock
Senior associate commissioner
Big 12 Conference
Mark Harlan
Athletics director
South Florida, American Athletic Conference
Bryan Harsin
Football coach
Boise State, Mountain West Conference
Phil Martelli
Men’s basketball coach
Saint Joseph’s, Atlantic 10 Conference
Jane Miller, vice chair
Senior associate athletics director
Virginia, Atlantic Coast Conference
Vince Nicastro
Deputy commissioner and chief operating officer
Big East Conference
Robert Philippi
Senior associate commissioner
Conference USA
Justin Sell, chair
Athletics director
South Dakota State, The Summit League
Lauren Sauer Steinbrecher
Women’s volleyball coach
James Madison, Colonial Athletic Association
Jon Steinbrecher
Mid-American Conference