Group: Progress in NCAA transfer rules talks

Updated: February 13, 2018

3:55 PM ET

The group tasked to bring reform to transfer rules in college sports is not considering any proposal that would allow every student-athlete to switch schools and gain immediate eligibility.

Justin Sell, chair of the Division I transfer working group, said Tuesday at the conclusion of meetings in Indianapolis that his panel of administrators and student-athletes made progress toward forwarding a new model to the Division I Council this year that would grant some exceptions to the requirement for undergraduate football and basketball players to sit one year after a transfer.

Among those possible exceptions is a Big 12-backed concept to allow players whose coaches depart to transfer and play immediately.

“Ultimately, our membership needs to make the decisions,” said Sell, who is athletic director at South Dakota State. “We’re a group that’s trying to facilitate that discussion. We didn’t come out with necessarily [the] answers to the transfer issue. We came out with some really good questions to pose — or concepts to pose — to get feedback from the membership.

“It’s vital that we get feedback.”

Sell said the working group will solicit input from membership this spring after the committee on academics meets next week to solidify the working group’s concepts. A proposal could be written in April ahead of the council’s meeting in June, at which time a vote could occur.

Some speculation in recent months has focused on an idea that would allow immediate eligibility to all student-athletes who wished to transfer. It was met with widespread criticism from college coaches, who feared an environment rife with tampering and mass transfers.

“For us, that was never on the table,” Sell said. “We’ve never proposed that model or gone down that path.”

At the same time, Sell said, the working group has eliminated any model that would require every undergraduate transfer to sit.

“We have a one-time transfer exception rule right now,” Sell said. “The question is, what do you build in, and what are some of those concepts that fall into that conversation on what would be a good exception?”

Academic criteria may factor heavily in the possible exceptions, Sell said, in addition to a player’s time on campus before requesting a transfer.

Additionally, Sell said, the working group continues to support uniformity on a notification system tied to financial aid and the creation of a database to help transfers more easily connect with new schools.

If those pieces fit into a proposal and receive approval from the council, a transfer would no longer need a release from his or her former school to receive a scholarship immediately at a new school.

“That’s a big deal to us,” Sell said.

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