NCAA considers ending early eligibility for student-athlete waivers, graduate transfers


Potential rule changes by the NCAA could remove immediate eligibility for athletes that apply for waivers and graduates when transferring to a different school.

Dec 25, 2013; Honolulu, HI, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard DeAndre Kane (50) in action against the Boise State Broncos during the first half of the NCAA basketball Diamond Head Classic championship match at the Stan Sheriff Center. Mandatory Credit: Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

John Infante of the Bylaw Blog writes about the Leadership Council in October discussing a new requirement that all student-athlete and graduate transfers in Division I FBS football, basketball, baseball, and men’s ice hockey are forced to sit out a year without waivers or exceptions.

"At that October meeting, the Leadership Council directed the subcommittee to focus on two concepts:1. To require all student-athletes in FBS football, basketball, baseball, and men’s ice hockey to sit out for one year following a transfer, eliminating the opportunity to earn immediately eligibility through the waiver process.2. To require graduate transfers in FBS football, basketball, baseball, and men’s ice hockey to sit out for one year following a transfer, potentially eliminating both the graduate transfer waiver and graduate transfer exception."

Specifically in basketball, Infante also explains that there would be a clock extension if a student-athlete or graduate player used their redshirt year. Student-athletes could still qualify for transfer waivers, but they would be in “extremely limited circumstances” which haven’t been explained.

When could these rules come into effect? Well, talk of limiting transfers have been on the table for about a year, but they could be in play as early as this fall. According to Infante, they “may not require changes to the Division I Manual.”

That could hurt potential recurits for Iowa State, or “Transfer U.” While many transfers have sat for a year before actually coming into a game, players like DeAndre Kane would have been affected. He graduated from Marshall and was eligible to immediately play when he transferred to the Cyclones.

One can see why there could be limits placed on the waiver process, but this doesn’t make much sense to limit graduates. Students that were able to graduate should be eligible to transfer to wherever they please and be able to play immediately. They fulfilled their commitment at one university; if they still have eligibility left, they should have the right to play anywhere else.