A proposed rule that some say would lead to an unheard-of number of transfers in college basketball and football will not be implemented for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.
Instead, it’s possible — maybe even likely — players will be allowed to transfer without sitting out a season’s worth of games as early as the 2021-22 academic year.
The NCAA this week in a news release announced that its Division I Council has “approved a resolution that outlined its intention to adopt by January a comprehensive legislative package creating uniform, modernized rules governing eligibility after transfer for student-athletes in all sports.”
On the horizon is new legislation that could allow athletes in football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and men’s ice hockey to be able to transfer and not have to sit out a year. Currently athletes in all sports except those mentioned are able to transfer and play in games at their new schools immediately.
The NCAA does allow graduates (with a year of eligibility remaining) in football and basketball to transfer and not have to sit out a year of competition.
Had a new rule been implemented this week, it’s possible chaos would’ve ensued, with record numbers of basketball and football players electing to seek out new opportunities with the school year quickly approaching. Many players might’ve elected to transfer to schools closer to family amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic uncertainties.
Under the old rules, 775 players have entered the men’s basketball transfer portal this offseason, as reported by Jeff Goodman of “Stadium.” That includes 155 graduate transfers.
“I believe it’s OK to transfer. It’s OK, just sit out a year,” KU coach Bill Self said on a recent podcast. “I don’t see the big deal about that at all.”
He pointed out some possible negatives in allowing players to transfer without having to sit out a season’s worth of games.
“Now there’s going to be 2,500 to 3,000 kids transferring every year just in our sport and where do you draw the line? What’s the drop-dead date you can transfer? Can you transfer the first day before classes? Can you just leave universities and programs high and dry because somebody else on another team transferred and a scholarship became open? (Coaches may say), ‘We’re just going to get this guy so he can transfer and fill that void,’ ” Self said.
“What about APR? If a kid is eligible but does not have a 2.6 (grade point average) if he transfers … they’ve got to adjust that. Now there could be schools not competing in the NCAA Tournament because of this rule,” Self noted on Bahe’s podcast.
Schools whose Academic Progress Rate score falls below a certain standard cannot compete in the postseason. Losing players to transfer affects an APR score negatively.
“It’s not going to be positive. There are cases it could be positive, but as a whole regarding our sport, I don’t think it’s good,” Self stated of a rule allowing transfers to have immediate eligibility.
The Division I Council, in accepting a recommendation from the NCAA Board of Directors to take some time in developing a legislative change on this issue, promises to answer some of Self’s questions. The Council, the NCAA said in a news release, is “committing itself to work with conferences, schools, the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, the Division I Committee on Academics and other committees to form a permanent legislative solution.”
Noted Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, the AD at Pennsylvania: “The transfer environment has long been an issue of much discussion in Division I. The Division I Council is committed to a uniform and equitable approach to transfer rules that considers student-athlete well-being and the opportunities available after transfer. We will not simply change the rule, but we will consider a comprehensive package designed to address the multiple complexities involved.”
The “comprehensive package” will be put together by Nov. 1, so it can be introduced at the NCAA Convention in January, which falls in the 2020-21 legislative cycle. A vote is expected to follow at the conclusion of the convention, meaning those uniform transfer rules could take effect as soon as the 2021-22 season.
“The comprehensive package will address issues that impact transfer, including academic requirements, roster management considerations, transfer notification dates, accountability measures for schools that accept transfer students, and additional education on the transfer rules and process. The Committee on Academics will provide its guidance to any academic aspects of the package,” the NCAA press release stated.
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