The Division 1 Council is recommending to the NCAA that they get rid of the “one-time” language in their transfer rule, according to The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach.
This would allow any student-athlete to have immediate eligibility upon transferring, provided they meet academic standards and enter the transfer portal within the designated window.
This may seem like a dramatic shift, but in reality it won’t impact the majority of student-athletes looking to transfer. It really only impacts the ones who have already transferred and are looking to move schools again before graduation – as graduate transfers have always been granted immediate eligibility (a la Rasir Bolton, who did not have to apply for a waiver despite Gonzaga being his second time transferring).
The NCAA has undergone pretty massive changes in the past few years, changes that all give student-athletes more autonomy over their NCAA careers. It was only a few years ago that student-athletes had to sit out a year if they wanted to transfer, with very few exceptions: graduate students and students who applied for a waiver and had it granted, often in cases with extenuating circumstances (coach leaving, wanting to be closer to family, etc.)
Now we will have student-athletes more willing to transfer, and transfer again, if things aren’t working out for them at their current institution. A prominent example of this is point guard Devin Askew, who began his collegiate career at Kentucky before transferring to Texas for his sophomore year last year. Things went even worse for Askew with the Longhorns, and now he’s set to begin year three at Cal – his third different program.
While many will look at this as an example of why the NCAA needs to penalize players who are quick to move on, it ultimately creates a situation that mimics the real world – people are free to pursue whatever opportunities they want to in an open market, capitalist society. If universities are going to continue to profit off successful athletic seasons, student-athletes should be free to earn their fair share through NIL, and should be free to choose where they want to play every single season.
It’s a big difference, no doubt, and it will change how coaches recruit and build their rosters, but it is ultimately the right decision to allow student-athletes more freedom as they continue to be the primary driving force of a billion dollar industry in this country.
Andy hosts the Locked on Zags and Locked on College Basketball podcasts, and serves Locked On in a marketing/digital content creator role as well. He lives just outside Portland with his wife Jenna and dog, Tillie.