The expectation is that athletes in fall sports will have until July 1 to notify their schools they are transferring to take advantage of new rule. It is expected that college football and basketball athletes who have already transferred this academic year — as well as those currently in the transfer portal — would be immediately eligible in the 2021-22 academic year. The year-in-residence restriction has existed in some form for at least a portion of sports sponsored by the NCAA since 1964. Athletes in only five of the 24 sports sponsored by the NCAA – the so-called “revenue sports” of football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and hockey — currently have to sit out a year in residence when transferring.
One-time transfer legislation should move closer to reality after NCAA Council meetings this week The measure would then have to be approved by the NCAA Board of Directors at its April 28 meeting to become official legislation.
However, discussion and debate on the issue is expected, and the Board of Directors could intervene. In November 2019, the board imposed a moratorium on transfer legislation for the 2019-20 academic year. To qualify, athletes have to be in good academic standing and not have faced disciplinary issues. A league’s intraconference rules will still supersede any NCAA legislation, but those walls appear to be coming down, too. The ACC, for example, recently did away with intraconference transfer restrictions, while the Pac-12 seems to be headed that way.
Shortly before that date, the Big Ten quietly proposed one-time transfer legislation. That created recent momentum to consider dropping the rule that had been around for parts of seven decades. A special NCAA Council meeting was called on April 1 to iron out details.
While the legislation has long been expected to be in place for the 2021-22 season, its passage was delayed in December when the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert expressing strong concerns. The NCAA Council is a 40-person body responsible for day-to-day NCAA legislative and policy decision-making. It has a representative from each of the 32 Division I conferences. Voting is weighted toward the 10 FBS conferences, and within that, the Power Five (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC).
The NCAA Council will meet this Wednesday and Thursday. During that time, it is expected to end the recruiting dead period in all sports that has existed since COVID-19 shut down the NCAA Tournament in March 2020. As of last week, a meeting between the NCAA and the Justice Department’s antitrust division still had not taken place. However, transfer legislation had been forwarded to the NCAA Council from the transfer working group.
“The only reason why [one-time transfer legislation] hasn’t passed is this meeting with the Department of Justice,” said an administrative source close to the situation. “Whatever formal sit down they felt like they need to have didn’t happen as of last week.” As of last week, a meeting between the NCAA and the Justice Department’s antitrust division still had not taken place. However, transfer legislation had been forwarded to the NCAA Council from the transfer working group.
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