Starting next season, major college football and basketball players will be permitted to transfer one time before graduating without being required to sit out a year of competition.
The NCAA Division I Council voted Wednesday to changed the long-standing rule that has often deterred players in high-profile sports from switching schools, two people with knowledge of the council’s decision told The Associated Press.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because two-day meeting was still in session and the council’s decisions would not become official until it ends Thursday. The Athletic first reported the council’s vote.
The so-called one-time exception has been available to athletes in other NCAA sports for years, allowing them to transfer and play immediately. Athletes in football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey and baseball have not had that available to them without asking the NCAA for a special waiver and claiming a hardship caused the need for a transfer.
Athletes who have graduated have also been permitted to transfer without sitting out, but not undergraduates.
Starting this fall semester, all athletes will be operating under the same rules: Transfers will be allowed to play right away, and has been seen as a major driver for the increased number of players in the transfer portal for football and basketball. The extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the pandemic has also been a factor.
Those in fall and winter sports must notify their schools they intend to transfer by May 1; in spring sports, the notification date will be July 1. The notification dates begin in 2022.
For this year, athletes in all sports will be required to notify their schools about their intent to transfer by July 1. Missouri Men’s Head Basketball Coach Cuonzo Martin spoke in support of the changes in a Zoom news conference with reporters Wednesday.
The council also voted to let the current dead period in recruiting in all sports expire June 1. A ban in in-person recruiting has been in place for more than a year because of the pandemic. Coaches will again be permitted to visit recruits off campus, hold camps on campus and welcome prospective student-athletes on official recruiting visits.
The University of Illinois has already scheduled a major recruiting event to coincide with the end of the ban, and the University of Missouri has also scheduled on-campus camps to start after the ban. A so-called “Mega Camp” at Lindenwood University, which will draw prospective high school recruits and college programs from around the Midwest, will be held in St. Charles June 4th and 5th.
FOX2’s Gregg Palermo also contributed information for this story.