College Basketball players will soon be free to transfer and play immediately.
The NCAA’s Division I Council has approved immediate eligibility for all college athletes who transfer. As soon as the upcoming school year, basketball and football players do not have to sit out a season after their first transfer from one Division I school to another.
The rule isn’t official until April 28, when it’s voted on by the Division I Board of Directors. That vote is expected to make the rule official.
“Allowing student-athletes a one-time opportunity to transfer and compete immediately provides a uniform, equitable and understandable approach that benefits all student-athletes,” council vice chair and MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in an NCAA statement. “The decision is consistent with Division I’s goal of modernizing its rules to prioritize student-athlete opportunity and choice.”
The rule has been in the works for a while; it’s not a surprise that it’s been approved. And many players and schools have been operating under the assumption that it would be official sooner rather than later. Over 1,000 men’s basketball players have announced their intentions to transfer already this offseason, and schools have been recruiting those players with the belief that they would be able to play in 2021-22.
It’s also important to remember that men’s and women’s basketball, men’s hockey, baseball, and football were the only Division I sports that had required transferring athletes to sit out for a season. Every other sport allowed players to switch schools without having to miss a season.
Under the new rule, basketball players who want to transfer and play the following season at their new schools need to announce their intentions by May 1.