The NCAA’s Division I Committee on Academics is suggesting a new rule that could allow more transfers to play immediately.
In a release on Thursday, the NCAA committee advocated that players who reach a certain GPA threshold should be able to skip the normal “academic year in residence” forced upon many athletes after transferring. There’s some debate as to what that number should be (between 3.0 and 3.3, per the release).
“I think where it might end up is if you have a certain GPA and a certain amount of credit hours earned and you transfer, you won’t have to sit,” Barta said. “Below that you’ll have to sit. It’ll be academically driven and motivated. The goal is, if you transfer, the likelihood of you graduating at the same time you would’ve graduated if you didn’t transfer, that’s the nexus that’s being looked at.”
The committee cites data that says the year-in-residence is not necessary for players who have shown strong academic capabilities. The release does not mention the fact that players who transfer but sit out a year are still heavily involved with the team. They attend practices and home games, are involved in workouts and thus have a significant commitment to the sport.
The proposal will head to the Transfer Working Group, an NCAA committee that is also working to remove “permission to contact” rules that require players to get permission from their schools to start contacting potential transfer destinations.
Members favored a phased effective date in which both the current one-time transfer exception and an academic-based transfer exception exist in the rulebook at the same time. In that scenario, the academic exception would become effective for the 2019-20 academic year; the current rule would then be eliminated after the 2020-21 academic year. That approach would make the academic-based transfer exception available to all student-athletes while gradually phasing out the current one-time transfer exception, which many student-athletes currently use.
The committee valued that approach because it provides notice both to student-athletes who can currently utilize the one-time transfer exception that it will be eliminated, and to coaches that the rules are changing. It also would give academically successful student-athletes in sports that don’t have a one-time transfer exception the opportunity to transfer and compete immediately as early as 2019. The committee’s recommendation will go to the Transfer Working Group for consideration.