DESTIN, Fla. — The SEC passed a rule Friday banning its schools from taking transfer athletes who were dismissed from their previous program for “serious misconduct.” It defines “serious misconduct” as “sexual assault, domestic violence or other forms of sexual violence.”
The rule was proposed by Georgia officials, who booted defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor from the program in July 2014 following his arrest on a domestic violence charge only to watch Alabama sign him in January after a season at a junior college. Taylor was dismissed from Alabama’s team in March following an arrest in Tuscaloosa on another domestic violence charge.
Incoming SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said he believes the SEC is the first league to make such a rule, which comes at a time when there is more public pressure for sports leagues to take a harder stance against domestic and sexual violence. “It’s an understanding of the current climate,” Sankey said.
The rule would not ban every player dismissed from a school for disciplinary reasons. For example, quarterback Nick Marshall still would have been allowed to sign with Auburn even if this rule had been in effect at the time. Marshall was dismissed from Georgia following a theft from a teammate.
Sankey said the rule does not take into account the legal system but instead uses the previous university’s response as a trigger for the ban. So even a player whose criminal charges were still pending would be banned from transferring to an SEC school. Sankey said that like all other SEC bylaws, this rule would also have a waiver process to cover extraordinary cases.