Transfer News

NCAA Council introduces legislation allowing one-time transfers, bowl eligibility expanded to all FBS teams


The NCAA has introduced a one-time transfer exception proposal into the 2020–21 legislative cycle on Wednesday during the Division I Council’s meetings. Additionally, the NCAA will allow blanket bowl eligibility for all 127 FBS teams playing this fall, meaning a team can go winless and still be eligible. 

The one-time exception proposal developed by the NCAA Working Group on Transfers is expected to be voted on, and passed, in January, and the adopted proposal would then become effective on Aug. 1, 2021. Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated initially reported on the proposed legislation earlier on Tuesday. 

Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic previously reported on Oct. 6 that the Division I Council was expected to vote this week on the transfer rule. According to Auerbach’s report, later confirmed by SI, athletes will now be allowed to transfer one time during their college careers without sitting out a season. 

The goal of the NCAA is to create uniformity across all sports. As Auerbach reported, “Right now, every NCAA-sponsored sport except football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball and men’s ice hockey already uses the one-time transfer exception. Those five sports require transfers to sit out for a year unless they are granted an immediate-eligibility waiver. This proposal, if adopted, would extend the provisions of the one-time exception to all sports.”

Fall sport athletes, like football players, will have to notify their schools of intent to transfer by May 1. There is an exception to extend that deadline to July 1 if there is an end-of-year coaching change or scholarships not being renewed. The athletes must leave their previous school academically eligible to qualify, which makes sense given that the year to sit out was traditionally viewed as a way to help the player adjust academically to their new school. Additionally, the NCAA will not limit the number of transfers that a Division I program can accept in a year, though, per SI, “the committee agreed to study transfer trends in the sport of football to determine whether future modifications to counter limitations are warranted.”

The NCAA has been more player-friendly regarding transfers lately, but this would be a massive step forward. Inconsistent transfer rules along with an arbitrary, and thus unfair, waiver system still remains a problem in college athletics. 

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