NCAA Board of Directors recommends pausing 1-time transfer waiver rule

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Amid a busy week in NCAA headquarters, college sports' governing body made even more news on Thursday. Buried at the bottom of a release summarizing other discussions ongoing within the NCAA's legislative digestive system was the announcement that the Division I Board of Directors is hitting pause on granting all athletes a 1-time transfer waiver.

Presently, all athletes except those in the five biggest revenue sports -- football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, and men's ice hockey -- can transfer one time and compete immediately at their new school.

Last fall, the NCAA's board appointed a Transfer Working Group, which recommended allowing Big Five athletes the same freedoms granted to their non-revenue peers, which would then end the frustrating confusion of some players' waivers getting denied and others' approved.

NCAA higher-ups appeared on board with the move, until Thursday. It seems, with NIL legislation in the works and COVID-19 throwing a wrench in everything, the Board of Directors is hitting pause. (Emphasis added.)

The board agreed to lift the moratorium on transfer legislation for the 2020-21 legislative cycle but recommended to the Council that changes to the waiver process as suggested by the working group are not appropriate at this time. Board members recommended the waiver process be sensitive to student-athlete well-being, especially those impacted by COVID-19 in the interim period.

However, that is not necessarily the end of the story.

The Board of Directors merely offered a recommendation on Thursday, and the final vote is up to the Division I Council. The Board is comprised largely of university presidents, while the Council consists largely of ADs. While it would be a surprise to see a the Council buck the recommendation of a group nominally comprised of their bosses, it is not impossible.

The Transfer Working Group has still recommended granting the waiver across the entirety of Division I, and the Council has the opportunity to vote on the matter as early as May.

Of course, the Division I Council could also choose not to vote, thus kicking the can even further down the road. Welcome to the legislative process of the NCAA.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.