Division I of the NCAA could see a policy change on student transfers and waivers approved this week, according to Michelle Brutlag Hosick of the NCAA, a change that would allow transferring students a 6-year window to complete their 4 seasons of eligibility if their transfer causes them to sit out a season.
The idea comes from a Division I Leadership Council subcommittee which has been studying the situation of transferring athletes and is expected to recommend the changes at the NCAA Convention this week.
The legislation applies to a specific group of student-athletes: some athletes who transfer are eligible to compete immediately the next season based on factors like releases, or where they transferred to or from. Those athletes would be unaffected by the new policy. But currently some athletes are required to either sit out a year of competition or apply for a waiver through the NCAA. These are the athletes that the new policy is intended to address.
If it’s implemented, this new procedure would do away with the waiver process for these athletes, forcing them to sit out a year, but in exchange would grant them an extra year to complete their eligibility. Current rules allow an athlete a 5-year window to fit all 4 years of eligibility into; the new policy would make that a 6-year window.
Those athletes would still have to provide some reasoning for the extension – the NCAA release (linked above) uses a serious family illness as an example.
The proposal is meant to counter abuse of the current waiver process as well as address claims that it’s inconsistent in its current form. If accepted, it would take effect next fall, meaning athletes transferring to a new school for the 2014-2015 season would be subject to the new rules.