College sports "free agency" has officially arrived.
As first reported by Nicole Auerbach at The Athletic, the NCAA Division I Council voted Wednesday to officially changed the long-standing rule regarding college athletes' eligibility after transferring. Beginning next season, major college football and basketball players will no longer be required to sit out one season if they transfer to another DI school before graduating from that college/university.
The NCAA hasn't made the official announcement yet because the meetings are a two-day proceeding - which also includes a discussion on officially ending the NCAA's recruiting "dead period" that has last for 14 months because of CoVID-19. But multiple sources have told The Athletic and the Associated Press that the transfer rule has been voted upon and will be announced imminently.
Football players, men's and women's basketball players, men's ice hockey players and baseball players have previously been required to sit out one season when transferring between Division I schools, unless they were granted a waiver by the NCAA for some special circumstance. Athletes in other sports were not bound by those same rules, nor were athletes in any sport that had received a diploma from their institution if they had remaining athletic eligibility they wanted to use.
Beginning with the upcoming fall semester, all athletes will be allowed a one-time transfer without having to sit out for a season.
Fall and winter sports athletes must notify their coaches by May 1 that they intend to leave their program. Spring sports athletes have a July 1 deadline.
This change has been coming for quite some time, but now is reportedly finally happening. The NCAA has historically had power over their student-athletes. Coaches who are paid millions can leave a school on a moment's notice for another job, but the athletes that were recruited by those coaches were often stuck. The NCAA has moved in a more athlete-friendly direction over the last few years, including the introduction of the transfer portal, paving the way for this new legislation.
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