ncaa-d1 flag

Michelle Brutlag Hosick | NCAA.com | April 18, 2014

Council recommends transfer policy change

Some student-athletes who transfer schools as a result of difficult life or family circumstances should be allowed an extra year to complete their eligibility, according to a recommendation from the Division I Leadership Council.

Council members propose that student-athletes who cannot transfer and play immediately without a waiver be allowed a sixth year to complete their four years of eligibility, if they qualify. 

The change would primarily impact student-athletes who play baseball, basketball, bowl subdivision football and men’s ice hockey as well as those in other sports who already used the one-time transfer exception.

These student-athletes would no longer be able to seek a waiver to transfer and compete immediately.

 “We hope this change will encourage student-athletes who must transfer based on hardships to focus on the circumstances prompting the transfer during their first year and adjust to their new school, while giving them a season back to complete their eligibility,” said Amy Huchthausen, commissioner of the America East Conference and chair of the Leadership Council subcommittee that examined the transfer issue.

Huchthausen stressed that the recommendation would provide student-athletes with additional time to focus on academic coursework and increase their likelihood of graduation. Research shows degree attainment generally takes longer for transfer students.

The change also is intended to reduce concerns about abuse of the waiver process and inconsistency in decisions.

Student-athletes would still need to present some form of mitigation, such as serious family illness, to be eligible for the extension. Several coaches associations, including the National Association of Basketball Coaches, expressed strong support for the change.

The Division I Board of Directors will review the proposal at its meeting April 24. If approved, the policy change would begin with the 2015-16 academic year to allow sufficient time to educate student-athletes, coaches and administrators about the possible impact.

In its feedback to the council, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee indicated that some student-athletes preferred to be immediately eligible rather than have more time to compete, while others said the current model made it too easy to transfer without consequences.

The council first considered the subcommittee’s recommendation in January, but members agreed to seek additional feedback before making a final decision.

In their discussions of the issue over the last several months, some subcommittee members noted that student-athletes who transfer due to an ill family member, for example, might be better served spending time with that family member rather than traveling and competing. Other members noted that people cope with personal hardship in different ways, and the distraction of competition might assist some student-athletes.

The recommendation does not include graduate students, and subcommittee members noted that more work on transfer issues should be completed in a new governance structure.

5 best 2019 Mother's Day gifts for college sports fans

Shop 2019 Mother's Day gifts at the NCAA Shop, powered by Fanatics.
READ MORE

NCAA recognizes programs for academic performance

The NCAA has recognized more than 1,300 programs from 321 schools for academic excellence after they scored in the top 10% of their sports in the most recent Academic Progress Rate results.
READ MORE

NCAA elects five new independent leaders to top board

The NCAA Board of Governors on Tuesday selected the five independent members who will join college and university presidents on the board that sets the future direction for college sports. These five leaders will provide increased objectivity and fresh perspectives to the Association’s highest-ranking governance body. The newly elected members are:
READ MORE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from NCAA.com and our partners