The NCAA’s Division I Council adopted legislation Thursday that would allow all of its athletes to transfer one time and avoid sitting out a year.
The one-time transfer rule is expected to benefit the Gophers and St. Thomas men’s basketball programs next season.
The previous rule had long forced non-graduate transfers in the high-profile sports such as football and basketball to receive hardship waivers to avoid sitting a year.
That is all expected to change officially on April 28, when the Division I Board of Directors votes on the one-time transfer exception, which gives all first-time transfers immediately eligibility starting in the 2021-22 academic year.
College basketball has seen a historic number of players, totaling more than 1,000, in the portal this year anticipating the NCAA’s decision.
“The one-time transfer rule has definitely caused some chaos around the world of college basketball,” Northeastern transfer and former Cretin-Derham Hall guard J’Vonne Hadley said. “But honestly I think it’s better for the players. It creates some great opportunities at the same time.”
St. Thomas basketball landed former local stars Hadley and Wisconsin-Milwaukee forward Courtney Brown Jr. from East Ridge to help the Tommies’ transition from Division III to the Division I Summit League next season.
“Once I heard they were going to allow transfers to play right away, it was something that I had to take advantage of,” Brown Jr. said. “I had my mind made up to go back home and play in front of my family and friends. We’re making history, so it’s fun to be a part of an opportunity like this.”
George Washington sophomore forward Jamison Battle said that he was also “very happy” after hearing the news Thursday that he would likely get to play right away for new Gophers coach Ben Johnson.
Battle, a 6-7 former DeLaSalle standout, was the first of four recruits to commit to Johnson this spring. The other three players weren’t expected to sit out under the old NCAA rules as grad transfers.
The new NCAA’s new legislation for one-time transfer exception applies for men’s and women’s basketball, football, baseball and men’s ice hockey, which previously all faced restrictions.
However, athletes in those sports who have transferred before and enter the portal again will still need to receive a hardship waiver to play immediately, according to the NCAA.
Starting next year the deadline for players to enter the portal and be eligible for the one-time transfer rule in fall and winder sports is May 1. For this year only, the NCAA extended that deadline to July 1.