The NCAA Division I Council voted on Wednesday to approve a one-time transfer rule for athletes that allows undergraduates to switch schools once without having to sit out for a season.
This now puts all college athletics under one umbrella, as the new rule specifically pertains to college football, basketball, baseball and ice hockey. Athletes from those sports will no longer have to ask the NCAA for a special waiver to grant the approval of the transfer process.
Athletes of all sports will have more freedom than before with the ability to transfer schools and have immediate eligibility.
The council’s role in the rule-changing process will be done as of Thursday, but the rule must be ratified by the Division I board of directors when it meets on April 28 for it to officially go into effect for athletes starting this fall.
For this year, athletes of all sports will have a deadline of July 1 to notify their school about their intent to transfer.
Prior to this one-time transfer rule taking effect, an example of the previous regulations meant if a junior wanted to change schools after spending two years at their initial university, they would miss all of their junior season and only have one more year of eligibility left as a senior.
The new transfer rule comes after the NCAA encountered a surplus of public backlash as a result of college head coaches being able to change jobs without penalty, whereas athletes were required to sit out for one year before eventually being granted the approval to play for their new school.
This is another instance in which the pendulum has swung in favor of college athletes. In the fall 2018, the NCAA debuted the transfer portal, which eliminated any school’s power to block other universities from contacting their athletes once they entered the portal.
According to the NCAA, the intent of the transfer portal was “a compliance tool to systematically manage the transfer process from start to finish, add more transparency to the process among schools and empower student-athletes to make known their desire to consider other programs.”