NCAA to Consider Grad Transfer Rule Change

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The NCAA is considering a change to how it handles student-athletes who wish to transfer to a different institution after they graduate to use their remaining eligibility.

Current NCAA rules allow for so-called graduate transfers to immediately move to a new school without sitting out a season, which is how undergraduate transfers are generally handled.

As the Omaha World-Herald reports, however, the collegiate athletics governing body is considering an amendment that would require graduate transfers to count against a team’s scholarship total for two years — no matter how much eligibility they have left when they arrive.

The proposal is expected to receive a vote in the NCAA Division I Council on Friday.

The original intent of the graduate transfer rule was to allow student-athletes a chance to pursue an advanced degree at a different institution without interrupting their athletic career. However, graduate transfers are often a tool of coaches looking to plug holes in their rosters, and student-athletes can find a new situation that would feature them more prominently.

Some believe that tweaking the grad transfer rule would stem the flow of such student-athletes.

“Roster management is such a critical component of every collegiate coach and then to say that you’re going to burn a scholarship for another year afterward, where an individual is not even playing, that’s obviously a pretty high price,” Todd Berry, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association told the World-Herald.

The rule change was proposed by the Division I Council’s transfer working group, which represents all 32 D-I conferences. Though the outcome of a vote on the measure remains unclear, it’s possible that smaller conferences could benefit from the change.

“(The proposed rule change) may help programs like us in the Big Sky or the big West, the WAC, where we’re investing four years in these young men and sometimes you’re losing out on the best year they can give you, in terms of the fifth year after the redshirt year,” Northern Arizona basketball coach Jack Murphy told the World-Herald. “A lot of people say something has to change. I don’t know if something has to change, but it would definitely make programs think long and hard if they’re going to commit two years of resources for only one year.”

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