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NCAA Council approves blanket waiver for transfers in all sports

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Division I transfer student-athletes can compete immediately.

In this photo illustration the National Collegiate Athletic... Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA Division I Council approved a blanket waiver for all applicable Division I student-athletes in all sports to transfer and be immediately eligible to play:

This would allow teams to have greater flexibility should COVID-19 impact the team’s roster. As the college football regular season is winding down and teams jockey for bowl and College Football Playoff position or are simply opting to end their seasons and go home, this waiver comes too late to have any real effect on football for this season. Winter sports such as basketball and spring sports like baseball will be able to take greater advantage of the waiver.

The Council had already been looking at proposals to make this change permanent:

Currently, Division I rules permit student-athletes in all sports except baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, football and men’s ice hockey to immediately compete after a first transfer.

Student-athletes in those excepted sports couldn’t compete immediately without being granted a wavier in their specific case. Back in February a group proposed changing the waiver guidelines to allow for all sports to be included. However, the Division I Board of Directors insisted on making the change legislatively to further ease the burden on the waiver process, which has become bloated and flooded with waiver requests far beyond what the process was originally designed for.

So the Council, which is comprised of athletic directors, conference commissioners, and other representatives, has approved the blanket waiver for now but will vote next month on whether to officially expand the existing rule to allow all Division I student-athletes a one-time transfer exception as long as they meet the conditions. If it passes it will go into effect for the 2021-2022 academic year.

In order to be eligible for the waiver, the transfer student-athletes must meet the following conditions:

They must be enrolled full time at the school for the fall 2020 term.

It must be the first transfer from a four-year school.

The student-athlete must have left their previous school in good standing academically and not facing disciplinary suspension.

Both the head coach and the student-athlete must certify that impermissible recruiting (tampering) did not take place.

The Council is also scheduled to vote on the name, image, and likeness (NIL) proposals.