Editorial

NCAA Will Tighten Up Rules For Immediate Eligibility Transfer Waivers

Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports - via Reuters

David Hookstead Smoke Room Editor-in-Chief

The NCAA will make it harder for college football and basketball players to get immediately eligibility transfer waivers.

This past year, there were plenty of high profile transfers that were deemed to play eligible immediately. None might have been bigger than Justin Fields leaving Georgia for Ohio State and being eligible right away. Tate Martell left for Miami from OSU and also got eligible right away. It might not be so easy in the future after the NCAA added “new language” for waivers. (RELATED: NCAA Denies Eligibility Waiver For Illinois Tight End Luke Ford, Must Sit Out The Year)

 

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USA Today wrote the following when explaining the changes:

The new language also goes into more specific detail about the documentation required for a waiver, which can be extensive in cases where an athlete is seeking immediate eligibility on the grounds of an injury or illness to themselves or an immediate family member.

The updated language of that same guideline is less broad, requiring “documented extenuating, extraordinary and mitigating circumstances outside of the student-athlete’s control that directly impacts the health, safety or well-being of the student-athlete.” 

The addition of those two words — extenuating and extraordinary — as well as other language throughout the proposal, appears to send the message that the NCAA wants to tighten up on the requirements for waivers. 

Look, something had to change after this past year. College football was starting to become free agency. Fields used an incident involving a racial slur to get a waiver, and Martell used a former OSU coach being accused of domestic violence to transfer.

 

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The Fields one probably is more legit, but I’d be curious to see if it would fly under the new standards. What I know for damn sure is Martell getting eligible at Miami pretty much means anybody could.

As far as I can tell, all a player would have to do is just find a problem with a coach and then dip out. That’s not at all what transferring should be about.

 

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College football isn’t supposed to have free agency, and transferring, outside of some situations, shouldn’t be super easy.

If it’s too easy, players are just going to leave and play right away when they don’t like a situation they’re in. That’s not at all what college sports are about.

Now, there are some situations where a player can get eligible right away. Major family issues, the NCAA dropping the hammer on a program and things of that severity should be fine. I’m even down with looking into a situation like Fields as being justified.

However, the Tate Martell one is outrageous. Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited to see him play, but him getting eligible immediately and using Zach Smith as a reason why is just laughable.

 

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It should be fun to see how this impacts things down the road. It looks like the gravy train for transferring though is likely over.