Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC

201-896-4100 info@sh-law.com

Are NCAA Transfer Rules Fair to Student Athletes?

Author: Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC|February 5, 2014

There are many reasons why a student athlete may want to transfer from his or her current college or university.

Are NCAA Transfer Rules Fair to Student Athletes?

There are many reasons why a student athlete may want to transfer from his or her current college or university.

Firstly, playing time is an issue that is paramount among transfers, as a lack of time on the field could hurt their chances of playing at the next level – this has been done by some of the best NFL players ever (Troy Aikman and Randy Moss among others). They also may not feel they are a good fit on the team or the school might not be what they expected. No matter the reason, student athletes generally have to sit out a year before being able to play somewhere else and coaches could be able to put restrictions on where the athlete can transfer.

For example, Oklahoma State University football coach Mike Gundy blocked quarterback Wes Lunt from transferring to 37 schools, three of which were in his top five. Gundy eventually relented on this decision, but NCAA rules say that he didn’t have to. The same rules don’t apply to coaches – as they are able to move from school to school freely, which is where the controversy comes into play.

Transfer Exceptions

The general rule for athletes that want to transfer from one four-year institution to another is that they must spend one academic year in residence before becoming eligible for competition. However, there are some exceptions, including:

  • Graduate exception: This is for students that have graduated with at least a bachelor’s degree with one season of competition left. The student’s previous school must also not renew his or her athletic scholarship.
  • Family hardship waiver: This is for students that experience specific family hardships, such as a seriously ill family member. Factors that are considered in approval include the nature of the illness as well as the athlete’s responsibilities related to the care of family member.

Even if students meet the criteria of these exceptions, the NCAA doesn’t always approve waivers. With athlete transfers – or lack thereof – making news nearly every year, it will be interesting to see if the NCAA changes its rules moving forward.

Are NCAA Transfer Rules Fair to Student Athletes?

Author: Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC

Firstly, playing time is an issue that is paramount among transfers, as a lack of time on the field could hurt their chances of playing at the next level – this has been done by some of the best NFL players ever (Troy Aikman and Randy Moss among others). They also may not feel they are a good fit on the team or the school might not be what they expected. No matter the reason, student athletes generally have to sit out a year before being able to play somewhere else and coaches could be able to put restrictions on where the athlete can transfer.

For example, Oklahoma State University football coach Mike Gundy blocked quarterback Wes Lunt from transferring to 37 schools, three of which were in his top five. Gundy eventually relented on this decision, but NCAA rules say that he didn’t have to. The same rules don’t apply to coaches – as they are able to move from school to school freely, which is where the controversy comes into play.

Transfer Exceptions

The general rule for athletes that want to transfer from one four-year institution to another is that they must spend one academic year in residence before becoming eligible for competition. However, there are some exceptions, including:

  • Graduate exception: This is for students that have graduated with at least a bachelor’s degree with one season of competition left. The student’s previous school must also not renew his or her athletic scholarship.
  • Family hardship waiver: This is for students that experience specific family hardships, such as a seriously ill family member. Factors that are considered in approval include the nature of the illness as well as the athlete’s responsibilities related to the care of family member.

Even if students meet the criteria of these exceptions, the NCAA doesn’t always approve waivers. With athlete transfers – or lack thereof – making news nearly every year, it will be interesting to see if the NCAA changes its rules moving forward.

Firm News & Press Releases

No Aspect of the advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court. Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.