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NCAA's One-Time Transfer Waiver Tabled Until At Least 2021-22

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A proposed one-time transfer waiver that would allow college athletes to transfer and be immediately eligible at their new school has been turned down until at least the 2021-22 academic year, the NCAA announced Wednesday. The news was originally reported by Brett McMurphy of Stadium.

In its release, the NCAA stated its intent to adopt legislation that creates "uniform, modernized rules governing eligibility after transfer for student-athletes in all sports." This legislation change would aim to achieve the same goal that the waiver proposal would, only through a lengthier process.

Current Division I rules prevent student-athletes playing baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, football and men’s ice hockey to immediately compete after their first transfer. While the one-time transfer waiver might have expedited the process of changing this, the NCAA is favoring a more thorough approach to adjusting its transfer rules.

“The transfer environment has long been an issue of much discussion in Division I. The Division I Council is committed to a uniform and equitable approach to transfer rules that considers student-athlete well-being and the opportunities available after transfer,” Council chair said M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania and Transfer Waiver Support Group chair. “We will not simply change the rule, but we will consider a comprehensive package designed to address the multiple complexities involved.”

In late April, the NCAA Board of Directors released a statement saying changes to the NCAA's waiver process are "not appropriate at this time."

"The board agreed to lift the moratorium on transfer legislation for the 2020-21 legislative cycle but recommended to the Council that changes to the waiver process as suggested by the working group are not appropriate at this time," the NCAA said. "Board members recommended the waiver process be sensitive to student-athlete well-being, especially those impacted by COVID-19 in the interim period."

The possibility of the one-time transfer rule getting adopted in the future still exists, however. The NCAA lifted the transfer legislation moratorium, per Athlon Sports' Bryan Fischer, meaning the rule will be vote on at the NCAA convention in January. 

For now, any scholar-athlete that transfers without receiving some form of an exception (graduate transfer, family hardship waiver, discontinued program exception, etc.) will have to sit out one year before gaining eligibility.