The NCAA Division I Board of Directors ratified the adoption of a measure that will allow athletes in all sports to transfer once without sitting a season, the NCAA announced Wednesday. The NCAA Division I Council adopted the legislation back on April 14.
“The Division I Board of Directors ratified the adoption of legislation expanding the one-time transfer exception to all student-athletes, no matter what sport they play,” the NCAA said in a release. “The Division I Council adopted the legislation, which allows all student-athletes who have not transferred in the past the opportunity to compete immediately after transfer once in their period of eligibility.
The rule is now effective and applies to all student-athletes who want to transfer for the first time for the 2021-22 academic year. If a student has previously transferred, the waiver process is available.
The measure has long been expected to pass and change the landscape of collegiate athletics, and college basketball players have already flocked to the transfer portal in record numbers in anticipation of the change. As of Wednesday, there were more than 1,400 Division I men’s basketball players in the transfer portal.
The rule is expected to have a major impact on college football football as well, ushering in what some have referred to as “free agency” in the sport. Though transferring is already prevalent in college football, it is expected to become even more common among athletes seeking more playing time without the hassle of missing a full season.
Athletes in most Division I sports have not been subject to the rule requiring transfers to sit a season. The rule has applied only to athletes in football, baseball, men’s ice hockey and men’s or women’s basketball, which are the NCAA’s most popular sports.
Athletes in fall/winter sports like, football and basketball, would face a May 1 deadline to enter the transfer portal. Spring athletes would have a July 1 deadline in order to gain immediate eligibility. However, the council voted to allow a blanket waiver for this year only that sets the date for all athletes as July 1.