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DI SAAC weighs in on transfer concepts

Input from student-athletes will go to working group for consideration

Student-athletes should be able to simply notify their current schools they intend to transfer, instead of the current rule requiring them to seek permission to contact other schools, according to recommendations from the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

If adopted, schools could no longer block students from attending specific schools.

At the SAAC meeting this week in Indianapolis, Justin Sell, chair of the Division I Council Transfer Working Group and athletics director at South Dakota State, presented members with transfer data, which framed the working group’s recent discussions. In the wake of those conversations, Sell asked for SAAC’s feedback on concepts in several areas.

The working group will use that feedback as it continues its examination of transfer rules in Division I.

Permission to contact

SAAC proposed replacing the rule that requires student-athletes to get permission to speak with coaches at a different school. The committee recommends a process through which student-athletes would have to notify their current school, but would not have to seek permission. The school could not restrict the student-athlete’s recruiting contact with other coaches.

SAAC vice-chair Kelsi White, a former field hockey player who holds a degree in political science from Miami (Ohio), believes the notification process would benefit student-athletes.  

“With transfers, one of the big things we are looking at is getting transparency. The student-athlete is up-front; they are telling their coach, but also having the leeway a normal student would have to go wherever they need regarding academics and/or sports,” White said. “We want to make sure we are not limiting student-athletes from pursuing what they need to pursue.”

Postgraduate eligibility

Another concept the committee discussed was postgraduate eligibility. SAAC members believe once  student-athletes graduate, they have fulfilled their obligation to the current school and should be able to communicate with other schools about transferring. Student-athletes should be transparent with their current coach, the SAAC members suggested.

Graduate students should be required to meet the regular admission requirements for graduate programs, SAAC members believe. Additionally, the committee discussed accountability measures for students who leave early.

Uniformity of rules

SAAC members believe all sports should have uniform transfer rules. Generally, SAAC believes student-athletes should be able to transfer once during their undergraduate years without restriction, unless the transfer is within conference. For intraconference transfers, members proposed that the students sit out from competition for a year. Students who transfer more than once should be required to sit out of competition following each subsequent transfer, the SAAC members recommended.

Overall, co-chair Brady Bramlett, former baseball student-athlete at Ole Miss, said he was very pleased with the progress of the committee.

“This weekend was the first meeting with our new members and it was a great opportunity to have new faces being a part of the program and getting them to jump in,” Bramlett said. “We made great strides in our discussion with transfers and early recruitment.”

The committee will convene again in October.