As NCAA treads water on transfer reform, other rule changes pass

Dr. Saturday
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

If it feels like the NCAA has been treading water for months on transfer reform, it’s because it has — to a point. There has been progress made in what has proven to be a complicated issue with many avenues to explore.

Earlier this week, the NCAA Division I Transfer Working Group provided an update on quite a few proposals that are in the cards. For one, the group made it clear it strongly supports a change that would “eliminate the ability of schools to influence athletic scholarships provided to student-athletes after they transfer.” Presently, athletes need the school they are attempting to transfer from to release them from their scholarship — an issue that came up at Kansas State last year.

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Additionally, like the NCAA’s Division Committee on Academics recommended earlier this month, the transfer working group is in favor of an academic benchmark — between a 3.0 and 3.5 GPA — that would allow for immediate eligibility for a transferring athlete. Currently, the NCAA requires transfer athletes who have not graduated to sit out a year when they move to another school.

The group also supports potential legislature that would allow a student-athlete who has signed an NLI to play immediately at another school if their head coach leaves.

“The working group will continue to study and pursue different concepts and seek feedback,” an NCAA release said.

With those potential alterations to the transfer rules still up in the air for now, a few other rules were discussed.

  • A rule backed by Nick Saban and many other head coaches that would allow football players to participate in up to four games yet still receive a redshirt was tabled for further discussion.

  • During the 2016 season, Saban brought in several of his former players to practice on the scout team, including using Trent Richardson to simulate LSU running back Leonard Fournette. That is now illegal and “intended to negate competitive and recruiting advantages schools potentially could gain by allowing former student-athletes to practice with the current team,” the NCAA said.

  • At the FBS level, restrictions were put in place in an attempt to stop programs from hiring people associated to recruits in “non-coaching” roles. Those restrictions were applied to the FCS level at first, but not any longer. The rules “were not needed in the FCS because hiring people to secure recruits is not an issue in that subdivision,” the NCAA said.

  • Finally, the Division I council approved alcohol sales at NCAA championship events.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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