The Big Ten Conference recently proposed legislation that would allow players to transfer once in their careers without having to sit out a year at their new school.
CBS Sports reports that the NCAA Board of Directors tabled the proposal and put a moratorium on proposals related to transfers for the 2019-20 legislative calendar, meaning that the earliest the Big Ten’s legislation could be adopted is 2021.
If it does go through, the proposal would represent a massive competitive shakeup.
Currently, with the exception of graduate students, athletes in men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball, hockey and football are required to sit out for a season when they transfer to a new program. The Big Ten's proposal would allow transfers playing those restricted sports to begin competing immediately at a new institution.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel told CBS Sports. “I don’t know who’s going to freak out and who’s not going to freak out. That doesn’t come into my thinking about it.”
As far as freaking out, some coaches — particularly in football in basketball — have expressed concerns over what has been characterized as one-time “free agency” for all collegiate athletes.
For Manuel, the issue comes down to a question of basic fairness. If athletes outside the five restricted sports can transfer at will, why not the rest?
“We have five sports that are not allowed to transfer in this day and age,” Manuel told CBS Sports “That is something we need to fix. We need to give all young people flexibility to transfer once. If they transfer a second time, there is no waiver.”
The most recent change to transfer rules took place in October 2018, when the so-called transfer portal was introduced. The pool allows athletes to make known their intent to transfer without seeking permission from a coach or school.
Allowing all athletes regardless of sport the ability to transfer immediately would remove the need for them to seek waivers. Currently, according to CBS Sports, about 65 percent of waiver appeals seeking immediate eligibility are granted.