Graduate transfers within the SEC can now play immediately

Dr. Saturday
The league voted to allow grad transfers within the conference to have immediate eligibility. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
The league voted to allow grad transfers within the conference to have immediate eligibility. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

The SEC did what a lot of people thought it would do on Friday by voting to change the league’s rules regarding graduate transfers from within the conference.

A player from an SEC school who wishes to graduate transfer to another SEC school will no longer have to apply the conference for a waiver for immediate eligibility. The league rescinded its rule that prohibited graduate transfers from transferring within the conference and playing right away without getting a waiver from the SEC.

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The rule’s immediate impact

The move means that Alabama offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy — and others who wish to do so — can transfer to an SEC school and be eligible in the upcoming school year. Kennedy wants to transfer to either Auburn or Tennessee. Alabama has not released him to do so citing the SEC’s ban on graduate transfers within the conference.

The ban, however, wasn’t exactly steadfast. Two years ago, Alabama defensive back Maurice Smith got a waiver from the SEC to transfer to Georgia. Smith’s transfer came after he and his family went public with their frustrations with Alabama and Nick Saban for not releasing Smith to go to Georgia.

Saban said earlier in the week that he shouldn’t be the one taking heat for preventing Kennedy from going to another SEC school. It should be the conference because it is a conference rule. Well, now no one will get the heat for preventing Kennedy from going wherever he wants to go.

SEC tweaks another rule too

The SEC’s presidents and chancellors voted on the rule change. The leaders also voted to make the league’s serious misconduct policy applicable to incoming recruits. Not long after Alabama tried to sign former Georgia lineman Jonathan Taylor, the SEC instituted a rule that prevented players with felony convictions for sexual or physical violence and/or university discipline for serious misconduct issues

Second year with grad transfer rule change

This is the second time in as many years that SEC schools have taken action on graduate transfer rules within the conference. A year ago at spring meetings, the league tweaked the graduate transfer rule, opening the door for Florida to get former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire.

Under the SEC’s previous rules, Florida was not an option for Zaire because the football team recently had other graduate transfers with academic issues.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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