John Infante, author of the Bylaw Blog at athleticscholarships.net, reported Friday that the NCAA is mulling a new set of transfer rules that would allow student-athletes with a 2.6 grade-point average to switch schools without sitting a year.
It’s a change that seeks to reduce eligibility consequences for players after some troublesome transfers in the last year, namely Jarrod Uthoff’s scholarship release from Wisconsin.
But off a summer where some of the Missouri Valley Conference’s top underclassmen — Drake’s Rayvonte Rice and Illinois State’s Nic Moore — both chose to transfer despite having to sit a year, that could leave mid-major programs out to dry.
Imagine a one-and-done system — just instead of entering the NBA draft, a slew of proven MVC freshmen jump to a major conference.
The only catch is that student-athletes would have to seek permission from their current school to contact another. As with most scholarship releases, they rarely get turned down because a coach won’t force a player to play somewhere he obviously isn’t happy.
The NCAA is already in what USA Today calls “college basketball’s free agency era,” as the transfer rate in Division I men’s basketball is 36 percent greater than that of the overall student-athlete population.
There’s no formal proposal in for this new set of rules — principles the NCAA Division I Leadership Council set at an October meeting — but Infante said they would most likely go into effect Aug. 1, 2014 if approved.
The proposals in full, per Infante:
—Athletes would still need to get permission to contact another school before transferring. But permission would be tied to practice and competition, not athletics aid. So even if permission was denied, the student-athlete would still be able to receive a scholarship.
—Athletes who qualify for the transfer exemption in the APR would be permitted to play immediately at the new school. That would make a 2.600 GPA the magic number to play immediately.
—Athletes who do not qualify to play immediately at the next school would still receive an extension of their five-year clock so they can use all their eligibility.
—Tampering with an athlete by another school would be considered a severe breach of conduct, a Level I violation, the highest in the NCAA’s new enforcement structure.