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NCAA Loosens Transfer Restrictions



This fall, collegiate athlete will no longer have to ask permission to transfer to a different school, as part of a sweeping set of changes enacted by the Division I council on Wednesday.

Beginning on October 15, student-athletes will be able to inform their current school of their desire to transfer. The school will then place the player into a national transfer database, eliminating the intermediary step of giving other schools permission to contact players.

“The membership showed today that it supports this significant change in transfer rules,” Justin Sell, chair of the Division I Transfer Working Group and athletics director at South Dakota State, said in a press release. “I’m proud of the effort the Transfer Working Group put forth to make this happen for student-athletes, coaches and schools.”

The rule that allowed existing schools to block transfers to some or all competitions was controversial. When Pitt attempted to block transferring guard Cameron Johnson’s transfer to North Carolina after the 2016-17, the school received significant criticism from the local and national media over the issue.

The NCAA eventually ruled that as a graduate transfer, Pitt could not block Johnson from transferring in that fashion, but if he had been an undergrad, Pitt could have done. Now, schools no longer have that option.

Conferences may still make rules that are more restrictive than the NCAA rule. The ACC forces non-graduate transfers within the conference to not only sit out a season, but lose a season of eligibility.

As a result of the change making it easier for coaches to identify which athletes are able to be contacted as part of a transfer process, the NCAA has made tampering with a student-athlete at another school a Level 2 violation, a much more serious offense.

The NCAA’s Transfer Working Group recommended the changes, and will continue to work through other issues, such as the timing for suspension of financial aid to a transferring athlete, rules for postgraduate transfers and the possibility of introducing a uniform transfer rule.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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