NCAA Moves Closer to Adopting New Transfer Rules

April 22, 2024

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is one step closer to enacting a new transfer rule that will allow NCAA eligible student-athletes to transfer multiple times without having to sit out an entire competition season with their new school.

On Wednesday, April 17, 2024, the Division I Council (a high level group of day-to-day decision makers for Division I) unanimously approved an emergency legislation that will no longer limit the number of times student-athletes can transfer to new schools without incurring a heavy penalty. The new transfer rule is not yet official but is the first step in the approval process. The rule change is subject to ratification by the Division I Board of Directors (Division I Board). The rule would be effective immediately if ratified by the Division I Board at its meeting in late April 2024. Such proposed rule change comes on the heels of the NCAA recently updating its guidance on its transfer rules.

Prior to this impending rule change, and prior to the lawsuit referenced below, student-athletes were permitted to transfer to new schools within the applicable transfer windows but would incur a one-year competition ban for each transfer, except for the first transfer, unless they applied to the NCAA for a waiver to compete immediately. The new transfer rule, however, proposes that student-athletes who meet certain academic eligibility can transfer multiple times within the applicable transfer windows, without facing the one-year ban.

The new rule comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed late last year (2023) against the NCAA by a coalition of state attorneys general who challenged the NCAA’s limits on college athletes’ transfers. The attorneys’ generals argued that such transfer limitations retrain student-athletes to market their labor and their education choices. The US. Department also joined the lawsuit and alleged that the NCAA’s transfer limitations violate antitrust law and places illegal restraint on the student-athletes’ ability to sell their name, image and likeness and control their education. The court issued a temporary restraining order, followed by a preliminary injunction that prohibited the NCAA from enforcing its transfer rule. The NCAA then requested that the injunction be kept in place throughout the 2023-24 academic school year to clear up any ambiguity for athletes and schools. Now, the new NCAA transfer rule is set to match the court ruling.