NCAA relaxes transfer rules, opens immediate eligibility to athletes in certain situations

USATSI

There have been a number of high profile undergraduate transfers who have received waivers to play immediately this offseason. In the future, though, waivers won't be necessary in every single case.

The NCAA Division I Council announced Friday that it has relaxed transfer rules for incoming freshmen athletes in certain situations, including those on teams that have made coaching changes. Incoming freshmen who enroll in summer school and receive financial aid can transfer and play immediately without a waiver if their coach leaves prior to the first day of fall classes. The rule only applies to those students who take their first semester of classes before the start of their first regular (non-summer) academic term, which means that it isn't applicable to football early enrollees.

Walk-ons who receive financial aid and non-recruited walk-ons can also leave without sitting out. The new rules go into effect for student-athletes who transfer to new schools this fall.

"It's definitely a win in our books," Enna Selmanovic, NCAA Division I student-athlete advisory committee vice chair and a former swimmer at Cincinnati, said. "(Allowing student-athletes in certain situations to transfer and play immediately) provides student-athletes with more opportunities to have the best experience possible within their collegiate career."

The rule was conceived by the Division I Transfer Working Group.

It's another move in a series of decisions by the NCAA that has freed up players to explore other options before receiving degrees. The transfer portal allows players to input their names into a system and speak freely with coaches from other schools and has become one of the hottest topics of the offseason. Two seasons ago, the NCAA relaxed its transfer rules and awarded waivers to players with "documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete's control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being of the student-athlete."

The Council defeated another proposal that would have made schools count financial aid for some postgraduate transfers against team scholarship limits for two years, even if the student stayed enrolled in graduate school after exhausting athletic eligibility. 

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, analyst for CBS Sports HQ and host for the SiriusXM college... Full Bio

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