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Tracking Transfer in Division I Men’s Basketball

National data indicate that many of today’s college graduates transfer at some point on their way to a degree.  This is true among student-athletes as well, and may be most visible in Division I men’s basketball (MBB).  Since 2015, NCAA Research has been tracking the destinations of Division I men’s basketball transfers and uncovered some interesting findings:

  • The rate of transfer between four-year colleges in Division I MBB is high relative to most other sports, but not the highest (see tables in full report).
  • The number of 4-4 transfers on Division I MBB squads has increased in each of the past two years (blue line in Figure 1).  This is coupled with a relatively stable percent of two-year college transfers in MBB (red line).
  • That said, NCAA Research has found that about 40% of all MBB players who enter Division I directly out of high school depart their initial school by the end of their sophomore year.

Where do these transfers end up? Transfers were identified by merging the 2019 Division I Basketball Transfers list from the Verbal Commits website with all Division I men’s basketball student-athletes listed in the 2018-19 Transfer Portal. 694 of the players on the list were identified as transferring to another school and joining the basketball team. 54% of the transfers went to another Division I school (often to a less competitive program), while the others typically left for Division II, NAIA or 2-year colleges (Figure 2).

Generally, over 80% of all MBB transfers say they leave for athletic reasons. Absent proper academic planning, many of these SAs lose credits upon transfer and register lower Academic Progress Rates (APRs) and graduation rates at their new schools than seen among non-transfers.

Trend in the Proportion of Men's Basketball Transfers in Division I APR Cohorts
Transfer Destination of Division I Men's Basketball Players

PowerPoint describing methods and data in more detail.

Download a PDF copy of this Extra Point: Tracking Transfer in Division I Men’s Basketball

(Published July 2020)

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