The NCAA Division I Council adopted emergency legislation on Wednesday regarding the new transfer portal windows.
Specifically, they created an exception from the new 60-day transfer portal windows for student-athletes who are going to transfer to another institution as a graduate student. Those student-athletes are exempted from the new transfer windows. They will, however, still have to meet the old transfer deadlines: May 1 for fall and winter sports, and July 1 for spring sports.
While graduate transfers, which require student-athletes to complete their undergraduate degree with eligibility remaining, are normally rare, they have become more common since the COVID-19 pandemic. That is because the NCAA gave student-athletes who competed during the COVID-hit 2020-2021 season a 5th year of eligibility. With many student-athletes completing undergraduate degrees in four years, that gives them a more comfortable path to using a graduate transfer.
The NCAA earlier this summer instituted a number of reforms aimed at bringing some order to the transfer portal. For winter-season sports, like swimming & diving, that comes in the form of a 60-day window that begins the day after championship selections are made.
For fall sports and spring sports, like men’s and women’s water polo, respectively, that includes a 45-day window beginning the day after championship selections are made in their sport, or a separate 15-day window outside of the season. For fall sports, that separate window is May 1-15. For spring sports, that separate window is December 1-15.
Student-athletes must notify their institutions in writing of their intent to transfer within these windows to be eligible to compete the next season. There are some exceptions to these windows. Besides graduate transfers, among the stated exceptions are head coaching changes and a reduction in athletics aid.