NCAA to grant immediate eligibility for athletes no matter how many times they transfer

Apr 22, 2024, 6:32 PM

The Arizona State Sun Devils...

The Arizona State Sun Devils logo is displayed on the field during the college football game in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — NCAA athletes are now eligible to play immediately no matter how many times they transfer — as long as they meet academic requirements — after the association fast-tracked legislation to fall in line with a recent court order.

The Division I Board of Directors formally ratified the change to the transfer rule Monday and approved a tweak that allows schools to identify name, image and likeness opportunities and facilitate deals between athletes and third parties.

Athletes are not obligated to accept assistance from the school and must maintain authority over the terms in their NIL agreements. Beginning Aug. 1, member schools will be permitted to increase NIL-related support only for athletes who disclose their NIL arrangements.

Transfer windows, which are sport-specific, remain in place and require undergraduate athletes to enter their names into the portal at certain times to be immediately eligible at a new school. Graduate students already can transfer multiple times and enter the portal outside the windows while maintaining immediate eligibility.

A coalition of state attorneys general late last year sued the NCAA, challenging rules that forced athletes that wanted to transfer multiple times as undergraduates to sit out a season with their new school.

A judge in West Virginia granted the plaintiffs a temporary injunction, lifting requirements for multiple-time transfers to request a waiver from the NCAA to be immediately eligible to compete.

The NCAA quickly requested the injunction be kept in place throughout the remaining school year to clear up any ambiguity for athletes and schools. The association has had to issue guidance to its members to clarify what that means for next season. Now the rules match the court ruling.

By eliminating the so-called year-in-residence for transfers, an athlete must be academically eligible at the previous school and not subject to any disciplinary suspension or dismissal to compete immediately at a new school. Transferring athletes must also meet progress-toward-degree requirements before competing.

The board will ask the committee on academics to explore creating a new metric — similar to the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rating — that would hold schools accountable for graduating the transfers they accept.

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