The NCAA Board of Governors continues to meet throughout this week. Yesterday, their recommendations regarding NIL compensation were encouraging. Today's recommendations were not.
According to the DI board, citing the coronavirus outbreak as a reason to oppose a one-time transfer waiver, this just isn't the proper time to make such a decision.
The NCAA's Transfer Waiver Working Group had earlier recommended allowing athletes a waiver to transfer one time without having to sit out a season. The working group wanted the rule to pass this offseason, something that could go into effect immediately. The Board of Governors voted against that ruling, to oppose that one time transfer waiver.
Here's the Board of Governors' full statement on the matter, from a press release this morning:
The groups also received an update from the Transfer Waiver Working Group. That group, appointed by the board last fall, was charged with studying potential changes to the waiver process. Waiver guidelines can be changed at any time, and that group has recommended that waiver guidelines allow the opportunity for a one-time transfer waiver for student-athletes in the five sports not legislatively allowed to transfer and compete immediately: men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, men’s ice hockey and football. The waiver criteria would mirror the legislative opportunity for student-athletes in other sports. The Division I Council could vote on the guideline changes as early as its May meeting.
The waiver working group also recommended the board lift the moratorium on transfer legislation to allow the membership to consider proposals that could provide permanent access to the one-time transfer opportunity for all Division I student-athletes.
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. Board members recommended the waiver process be sensitive to student-athlete well-being, especially those impacted by COVID-19 in the interim period.
Regardless of the recommendation of the Board of Governors, the DI Council can still vote in favor of passing this transfer waiver. That vote, along with the vote on NIL compensation, will take place in May.
For Ole Miss, this decision could have significant ramifications.
Both basketball programs hit the transfer market hard this offseason. The men got a grad transfer from Temple, Dimencio Vaughn, who will be eligible immediately. But they also landed Samford transfer Robert Allen, who at this point will have to sit out a year.
The passing of the one-time waiver would allow Allen to play in the 2020-21 season. It would also allow the women's team to field arguably their best player.
Shakira Austin, a former No. 4 overall recruit and Maryland transfer, signed with the Ole Miss women in the spring window. Yolett McPhee-McCuin praised Austin as a WNBA lock, a potential top-10 draft pick.
This waiver rule would allow Austin to play from the start at Ole Miss.
As for the football program, it could also see a spark. The biggest football transfer is tight end Kenny Yeboah, who will almost certainly start from day one as a graduate transfer. Like Vaughn, as a grad transfer the ruling doesn't effect him either way.
A big name that could play for Ole Miss in 2020 if the waiver passes is Georgia transfer Otis Reese. A four-star safety recruit in the class of 2018, Reese will be sitting out this upcoming football season unless the DI council goes against the board's recommendations.
As with the NIL recommendations, they are just such – recommendations. The DI Council will likely vote in May alongside those recommendations, but they may vote in a different direction.