NCAA athletes will be allowed to transfer an unlimited number of times without penalty

The NCAA and U.S. Department of Justice have reportedly reached a settlement that will also restore a year of eligibility for some student-athletes
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA and U.S. Department of Justice have reached a settlement that will allow student-athletes to transfer an unlimited number of times without penalty, according to a report from The Athletic on Thursday.

Additionally, the NCAA is required to restore a year of eligibility for current student-athletes who missed a year of competition since 2019-20 due to the old Transfer Eligibility Rules, which stated that players who transfer more than once must sit out a year. The settlement resolves a federal antitrust lawsuit that challenged how the NCAA handled multiple-time transfers. 

U.S. District Court Judge John Preston Bailey in West Virginia issued a preliminary injunction that banned the NCAA from enforcing its rules in December. The DOJ got involved in the case not long after.

Thursday’s ruling comes roughly one month after the Division-I Board of Directors ratified a change to the transfer rule that granted college athletes immediate eligibility no matter how many times they transferred.

The latest change is just one of many going on in college athletics. The NCAA also agreed to a $2.8 billion settlement that will see backpay go to thousands of current and former student-athletes in a landmark case that has helped usher in schools sharing revenue with players. All while the NCAA is having to cut how much it distributes to its members in order to settle three separate federal antitrust cases.

According to the framework of the settlement, power conferences will pay about $644 million annually in damages while the 27 non-power conferences will pay $990 million. Those numbers were determined by a formula that calculated the amount of distribution a league earned over a nine-year period starting in 2016, according to documents obtained by Yahoo Sports. Most of that distribution is from units earned in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Non-FBS leagues tried to push back on the deal but to no avail. Starting in 2025, the NCAA will permit schools to directly compensate athletes for their NIL in a revenue-sharing concept that includes a salary cap.

Further change could be coming in regard to the transfer portal in college basketball. Earlier this week the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Oversight Committee recommended the portal window shrink from 45 days to 30, according to the committee's May report.

Student-athletes would be able to enter the portal after the end of the second round of the NCAA Tournament, a week after it currently does. The proposal will move for consideration in June. If approved, it would go into effect for the 2024-25 athletic season.

Cole Forsman


Cole Forsman is a reporter for Gonzaga Nation, a member of Sports Illustrated’s FanNation network. Cole holds a degree in Journalism and Sports Management from Gonzaga University.