NCAA Will Stop Enforcing Transfer Eligibility Rule for Student-Athletes

A settlement with the National Collegiate Athletic Association was announced May 30, easing restrictions on Division I college athletes who have transferred schools multiple times.

The pending agreement would remove constraints on the competition eligibility of student-athletes who have transferred schools.

The NCAA’s transfer eligibility rule required athletes who transferred among Division I schools to wait one year before competing in games unless they were granted a waiver, according to an announcement from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. The NCAA started automatically exempting first-time transfers from the regulation in 2021, but never changed the rule. According to the AG’s Office, the NCAA continued to enforce the rule for subsequent transfers and to deny waivers.

State attorneys general sued the NCAA in December 2023, accusing the agency of violating antitrust laws with restrictions on second-time transfers, according to the news release. The states, which were joined in the lawsuit by the Department of Justice, alleged that the rule infringes on the ability of athletes to freely move to another school where they may have opportunities to compete.

The states’ request for a preliminary injunction was granted, forbidding the NCAA from enforcing the transfer rule through at least the spring sports season.

“Student athletes deserve to be treated fairly and not sidelined because of a coaching change or other circumstances beyond their control. Freedom to pursue opportunities is an American ideal and a core tenet of the antitrust laws. The NCAA’s effort to unjustifiably undermine that principle for students looking to transfer will end as a result of this settlement,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser in a news release.

The proposed settlement would prevent retaliation from the NCAA against member institutions and athletes who challenge the rule or who support those who do. The AG’s Office noted this includes safeguarding student athletes’ rights to compete during legal proceedings without fear of punitive actions from the NCAA. 

The proposed settlement also requires the NCAA to grant an additional year of eligibility to Division I athletes who were previously deemed ineligible under the transfer eligibility rule since the 2019-20 academic year. NCAA would also be prohibited from undermining or circumventing the proposed settlement’s provisions through future actions, rules or policies, according to the announcement.

The AG’s Office noted attorneys general of Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia, as well as the DOJ signed on to the agreement.

Previous articlePolsinelli Adds Kendall Gurule to Denver Office
Next articleLegal Lowdown: Sherman & Howard Announces Summer Associates, Polsinelli Adds One


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here