NCAA transfer rules under review

Sports

The NCAA is reviewing the guidelines regarding granting transfer waivers at the Division I level, the organization announced Thursday.

The work being done by the Committee for Legislative Relief comes as a majority of student-athletes in the past year have been granted immediate eligibility to play at their new schools rather than sit out a year.

According to NCAA statistics, 149 of 226 athletes in all sports — 65.9 percent — were granted a waiver to play immediately in the 2018-19 school year.

The last time waivers were granted for immediate eligibility came in the 2014-15 academic year, when 72.7 percent — 179 of 246 — were approved.

In the years in between, athletes who were granted waivers were given an extra year of eligibility instead of immediate play.

The NCAA review began earlier this week during the committee’s meeting in Indianapolis, and the group’s goal is to make recommendations for any change prior to the 2019-20 academic year. The goal is to have final recommendations for changes before the start of the 2019-20 academic year.

“The Committee for Legislative Relief is reviewing current transfer waiver guidelines to make sure they are in line with the membership’s expectations. We do believe attention on a small number of high-profile requests can skew perceptions of the scope of staff and committee review,” said Kaity McKittrick, deputy athletic director at Lafayette. “Each waiver request is reviewed individually, as they each present a unique fact pattern and almost always confidential information of the student.”

Last April, the rules were changed to allow waivers for immediate eligibility if specific criteria were met. The guidelines also added a requirement that the athlete’s transfer request must concern something out of that student’s control. The school where the student originally enrolled also cannot object.

Among the notable recent transfer approvals are two quarterbacks who moved from the Southeastern Conference to the Big Ten: Shea Patterson from Ole Miss to Michigan and Justin Fields from Georgia to Ohio State.

—Field Level Media

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