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DI SAAC offers feedback on potential changes

Committee weighs in on transfer exceptions, athletics aid

At a meeting last week in Indianapolis, the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee provided feedback regarding several issues vital to student-athletes, including transfer rules, athletics aid and early recruiting.

Transfer exceptions

Justin Sell, chair of the Division I Transfer Working Group and athletics director at South Dakota State, sought SAAC’s feedback on several new concepts. The committee recommended that walk-ons who were not recruited be immediately eligible after transferring to another school. The committee also recommended that incoming freshmen who have enrolled in summer school and whose head coach leaves the school before the first day of the fall semester should be able to transfer and play immediately.

SAAC chair and University of Missouri-Kansas City basketball student-athlete Noah Knight is optimistic about the Transfer Working Group’s efforts.

“I look forward to continued discussion in these areas,” Knight said. “I think the group is trying to put the ideas of student-athlete opportunity and broader options first.”

SAAC’s feedback will inform future working group discussions.

Athletics aid prior to full-time enrollment

The committee also discussed allowing schools to provide student-athletes with athletics aid prior to full-time enrollment so that they can satisfy academic requirements. This could affect student-athletes who transfer and need to complete required course credits over the summer before the fall semester. Overall, SAAC supported the idea, noting that it is favorable for student-athletes.  

Early recruiting concepts

The Student-Athlete Experience Committee presented potential models for early recruiting, and SAAC provided feedback on each.

Vice chair Nicholas Clark, a former Coastal Carolina football student-athlete with a degree in communications, believes the new concepts will prove beneficial for student-athletes.

“The proposed early-recruiting concepts give prospective student-athletes enough time to not only enjoy being a high school student, but it also gives them enough time to thoroughly think through the process of becoming a college student,” Clark said. “The recruiting process is already tough enough — trying to figure out the best school for you as it relates to your desired degree and building relationships with coaches prior to signing day. The early recruiting model gives student-athletes time to hash out those ideas and thoughts with their families and to make the best decision for them.”

Other business

  • SAAC’s education project team gathered feedback for final edits of its notification of transfer educational document. The document outlines the new notification of transfer process and includes frequently asked questions — SAAC hopes it will be a valuable resource for student-athletes. The final document will be available when the NCAA transfer portal opens Oct. 15.
  • SAAC members began discussing priorities for the upcoming academic year, including: diversity and inclusion; student-athlete health and well-being; professional development; and life after college sports. The committee will decide on an official set of priorities at a future meeting.
  • Additionally, the committee reviewed proposed Division I legislation. Committee members will now gather feedback from the student-athletes in their respective conferences and on their campuses to further inform their positions on the proposals.
  • SAAC discussed potentially partnering with One Shirt One Body as a community engagement initiative. One Shirt One Body is a nonprofit organization that connects NCAA student-athletes with children in their communities by donating shirts, supplying equipment and helping them get involved in sports.

Division I SAAC will convene again in January at the NCAA Convention in Orlando, Florida.