The NCAA has continued to open its restrictions on transfers, the organization announced on Friday.
The Division I Council voted to allow all incoming student-athletes to transfer and play immediately if their head coach leaves before the upcoming fall term, as long as those athletes are enrolled in summer school.
The Council also voted to allow all walk-ons to transfer and play immediately without a waiver.
“It’s definitely a win in our books,” said Enna Selmanovic, a former Cincinnati swimmer and vice chair of the NCAA's Student-Athlete Advisory Council. “(Allowing student-athletes in certain situations to transfer and play immediately) provides student-athletes with more opportunities to have the best experience possible within their collegiate career.”
Moving forward, all early-enrollee football players and those who enroll in summer classes are now free to leave and play elsewhere immediately if their head coach leaves after signing with their original university. (Update: An NCAA spokesperson has clarified that this applies only to incoming athletes who will begin their college enrollment for the summer term -- not high schoolers who graduated early and enrolled in January.)
In other words, think of Hugh Freeze's late July resignation from Ole Miss, not the run-of-the-mill January firing or departure.
The NCAA transfer rule will prevent future situations where, for example, Baker Mayfield was required to sit out the 2014 season in transferring from Texas Tech to Oklahoma despite walking on to both rosters.
Additionally, the NCAA also defeated a proposal that would require schools to count all graduate transfers against their scholarship numbers for two years unless the player completes his graduate program within one year at his new university. This proposal would have applied only to football and basketball players, and was expected to fail.
The NCAA also tabled a proposal that would have required an injury or illness to occur in the first half of a season in order for an athlete to be eligible for a hardship waiver.
All proposals will be forwarded for consideration at the next NCAA Board of Directors meeting on May 1.