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NCAA rejects proposal for mandatory 2-year commitment to grad transfers

A proposal to require a graduate transfer to count against a team’s scholarship total for two years in football and basketball has been rejected by the NCAA.

The Division I Council on Friday voted down a proposal that could have tapped the brakes on the de facto free agency created by a rule originally intended to give athletes more freedom to pursue graduate degrees.

NCAA rules require football and basketball players to sit out a season after transferring, but those who complete a degree are permitted to transfer and play immediately. The proposed change would have locked schools into a two-year scholarship commitment regardless of how much eligibility a grad transfer had remaining.

An exception would have been made if the athlete completed degree requirements before the second season.

“I don’t think people were ready to take that step … but trying to figure out how that graduate space works will be a continued discussion,” said South Dakota State athletic director Justin Sell, who led the council’s transfer working group.

The council did pass a new rule that will go into effect this fall semester, allowing athletes who have enrolled in summer school and are on scholarship to transfer and be immediately eligible at a new school if their head coaches leave. Previously, athletes in that situation would have needed a waiver from the NCAA to avoid sitting out a season.

“It’s a fairly narrow exception, but it’s to help students who have a really late (coaching) change in the summer,” Sell said.

The council also voted to allow walk-on athletes to transfer and be immediately eligible at a new school.

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