The NCAA Board of Governors has recommended delaying a change to the transfer waiver process that would permit all athletes to switch schools once without sitting out a season.
Now it is likely the NCAA will examine loosening restrictions on transfers through legislation.
The NCAA announced the board’s recommendation Thursday after several days of meetings, but added the Division I council could still a vote on making the waiver change in May.
The board did agree to lift a moratorium on legislative changes to the transfer rules, allowing NCAA member schools to consider proposals in January for a one-time exception for all transferring Division I athletes.
Mid-American Conference Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said a more comprehensive approach to implementing a one-time exception for all transfers is needed.
“That will allow us to better address the issues that are all around this,” said Steinbrecher, who was leading the transfer waiver working group.
Steinbecher said those issues include:
— How transfers count toward a team's Academic Progress Rating. Teams can face NCAA sanctions if they fall short of APR targets.
— Notification dates for athletes who want to use a one-time exception. Those would likely need to be sports specific.
“You hear people complain about it but at the end of the day, very little is done,” Steinbrecher said. “Coaches aren't willing necessarily to point the finger at each other. OK, what do you want to do?”
— Graduate transfers. Rules already allow athletes who have graduated to transfer without sitting out. Would that stay the same?
— Football teams can sign no more than 25 players in a year, including recruits and transfers. Could that be tweaked to allow teams the ability to replace outgoing transfers, opening up more spots for players looking for new schools?
Currently, NCAA rules require football, baseball, men’s hockey and men’s and women’s basketball players to sit out a season after transferring. Athletes in all other sports are allowed by rule a one-time exception so they can play right away after switching schools.
A change to the waiver was recommended by a working group in February that would mirror the one-time exception, and go into effect this year. That was before college sports were shut down and thrown into disarray by the coronavirus pandemic.