SEC Eases Admissions Rules for Grad Transfers

Greg Arias

The Southeastern Conference has relaxed admission rules governing graduate transfers; this from a story by Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated published Thursday. 

According to Dellenger, SEC presidents and chancellors approved a proposal to ease a restriction that required graduate transfers to enroll in graduate school at his or her new school. The new legislation, an amendment to a bylaw, allows grad transfers to pursue a second undergraduate degree at the new institution. 

This policy change now aligns the SEC with the NCAA, which made the change to its graduate transfer legislation in April.

"The previous policy steered an athlete’s education down a path that they may not have preferred. With greater enrollment options now, athletes are free to pursue a second major in the same way he or she could have done at the previous school. Admission standards at graduate programs can be stringent and often complicated. The new legislation will “reduce tensions created between athletics and academic departments” in locating graduate programs for athletes who may not “lack necessary practical experience to be admitted,” the proposal reads."

Per the report, administrators from Arkansas, South Carolina, and Missouri introduced the proposal, which will become effective for those graduate transfers enrolling Aug. 1 or later.  

"For coaches, this offers another avenue to land graduate transfers, a sweeping trend in college football over the last several years. Graduate transfers can play immediately and some even enter their new schools with two years of eligibility. Joe Burrow, the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at LSU, is one of the most recent high-profile examples of a transfer who graduated from his previous school, Ohio State, with two years of eligibility. He was a redshirt junior when he enrolled at LSU in May 2018."

The SEC has been the landing spot for multiple graduate transfers since the inception of the rule, including former Wake Forrest standout quarterback Jamie Newman, who transferred to Georgia and will compete for the starting spot in Athens this season.  

Likewise, Vanderbilt took advantage of the transfer portal, signing Riley Neal, who started the majority of the 2019 season at quarterback for the Commodores.

The move will likely lead to more players taking advantage of the change to move into the SEC and play in the top football conference nationally. 

Follow Greg on Twitter @GregAriasSports and @SIVanderbilt or Facebook at Vanderbilt Commodores-Maven.

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