NCAA officially ratifies new rules allowing athletes to transfer multiple times and still be immediately eligible

The NCAA’s Division I executive board officially ratified new transfer rules Monday that will allow all undergraduate athletes to transfer schools and play immediately, regardless of how many times they’ve transferred schools in the past.

The guidelines will provide athletes who transferred during the 2023-24 academic year immediate eligibility as long as they are both academically eligible to compete and meeting degree requirements at their new school. The new rules go into effect immediately and were approved by the Division I council last week.

The NCAA will no longer limit the amount of times that athletes can transfer schools. Previously, athletes were allowed to transfer one time and play immediately, but they had to sit out a full year if they transferred schools a second time without a waiver. The two transfer windows are still in place with the new ruling, and players can’t transfer schools in the middle of the year and play for their new school in the same season.

“With these rule changes, NCAA members continue to prioritize long-term academic success for college athletes who transfer, while supporting their opportunity to compete immediately,” Division I Council chair and Florida deputy athletic director Lynda Tealer said in a statement.

“We hope that this practical approach to transfer eligibility requirements will encourage student-athletes to make well-informed decisions about transferring and the impacts such a move could have on their ability to graduate on time in their degree of choice, particularly as it relates to transferable credits.”

The transfer portal has exploded in recent years across all sports, especially with the arrival of NIL deals. While the new transfer rules will still be tied to academic progress, there’s plenty of concern about how realistic that will be after a transfer or two. Guard Caleb Love ran into this issue when he transferred to Arizona from North Carolina this past offseason, for example. He was initially going to transfer to Michigan, but that fell through after an admissions issue related to his credits.

“One of the questions we have to ask ourselves is, at what point does the degree still matter?” Oregon football coach Dan Lanning told ESPN. “I think it’s going to make it harder and harder if guys become multiyear transfer guys for them to actually have a college degree. If you graduate, there’s a lot of times it makes sense — change schools as many times as you want — if you graduate. But on the same note, if somebody’s changing schools three times, I’m wondering what their progress towards a degree really looks like. I think that’s something everyone should probably have some awareness of.”

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