The NCAA on Thursday announced its Committee for Legislative Relief this week began a “holistic” review of new transfer guidelines that passed last April for undergraduate athletes looking for immediate eligibility at another school.
“The Committee for Legislative Relief is reviewing current transfer waiver guidelines to make sure they are in line with the membership’s expectations. We do believe attention on a small number of high-profile requests can skew perceptions of the scope of staff and committee review,” said Kaity McKittrick, deputy athletics director and senior woman administrator at Lafayette. “Each waiver request is reviewed individually, as they each present a unique fact pattern and almost always confidential information of the student. Our committee and the staff operate with the membership’s guidelines in mind, and are not driven by a specific approval percentage.”
In April, the NCAA loosened the guidelines to allow all students whose transfers are not challenged by their outgoing school and who experience “documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete’s control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being.”
Since then, 51 of the 63 FBS football players who have sought an immediate eligibility waiver have received one, according to an Associated Press study. The most notable case came last Friday, when Justin Fields was approved to play for Ohio State in 2019 after competing for Georgia as a true freshman in 2018. In the meantime, fellow quarterback Tate Martell seeks a waiver after leaving Ohio State for Miami and wide receiver Bru McCoy seeks a waiver to play at Texas after enrolling at USC in January.
The Fields case, and the new emphasis in general, has prompted lots of hand-wringing from coaches and, as evident by Thursday’s announcement, from NCAA leadership as well:
Since that action, the Transfer Working Group and other membership groups have expressed a desire to re-examine the waiver guidelines.
Any changes would have to be presented to the Division I Council, and would not go into effect until the 2019-20 academic year.