The NCAA is heading toward allowing all Division I athletes to transfer one time without sitting out a season of competition.
A plan to change the waiver process is expected to be presented to the Division I Council in April. If adopted, new criteria would go into effect for the 2020-21 academic year.
The NCAA’s announcement Tuesday comes a day after the Atlantic Coast Conference became the second Power Five conference to publicly support the so-called one-time exception for all transfers.
Currently, football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s hockey and baseball players must sit out one season after transferring. Other NCAA Division I athletes are permitted a one-time exception to be immediately eligible for competition after transferring.
The NCAA adjusted waiver criteria two years ago to give more athletes the chance to become immediately eligible, but that has led to complaints about inconsistency in the process.
“The current system is unsustainable. Working group members believe it’s time to bring our transfer rules more in line with today’s college landscape,” said Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, who is the chairman of the transfer working group. “This concept provides a uniform approach that is understandable, predictable and objective. Most importantly, it benefits students.”
Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino said Tuesday on his radio show that he isn’t sure the change will help his game, citing “chaos on rosters.” He imagined a scenario in which a team loses and gains three or four transfers in a season.
“Teams are just not going to be as good, because it takes time to develop these guys,” Pitino said. “It’s concerning, but I’m not critical of it. It’s probably the right move to continue to provide things for the student-athletes. But it’s going to be very, very difficult for all of us.”
If the transfer working group’s latest concept is adopted, any athlete would be granted immediate eligibility after a transfer if four criteria are met. The athlete must:
• Receive a transfer release from the previous school.
• Leave the previous school academically eligible.
• Maintain academic progress at the new school.
• Leave under no disciplinary suspension.
Staff writer Marcus Fuller contributed to this story.