The college football transfer system could soon become more cumbersome with plans for tightened requirements, according to new waiver guidelines passed by the NCAA on Wednesday morning.
The NCAA Division I council approved a package of guidelines that included language to narrow the situations in which a player could be granted immediate eligibility with an NCAA waiver.
Non-graduate transfers are currently required to sit out one season if not granted such a waiver.
A year ago, Jonathan Giles became eligible at LSU as a wide receiver transfer from Texas Tech.
The NCAA changed four guidelines in an attempt to help the governing body better decide when a player who has transferred to a new school can receive a waiver.
One of the guidelines included how players can receive waivers by proving they no longer have the opportunity to play at their previous school.
Now, the NCAA is requiring the player’s new school to provide a statement from the previous school’s athletic director that says whether or nor that player had a spot on the team still. The statement also has to include whether or not the player was dismissed from the team, and if they were dismissed, the date of that dismissal. The previous school’s athletic director also has to say whether the player was “in good academic standing” when they left, plus the reasons the player gave for transferring from the school.
One of the biggest changes came to waiver requests that are submitted because a player’s immediate family member suffered a recent injury or illness.
A player’s new school now has to explain to the NCAA the player’s role in providing care of the immediate family member who is ill or injured. There’s additional limitations: The player must have transferred within or immediately after the academic year after learning of the injury or illness, and the new school has to be within 100 miles of the immediate family member who is ill or injured.
The previous school’s athletic director also has to provide a statement on why the player said they were transferring, and the new school has to prove the student is “in good academic standing.”
Although there were some previous waiver guidelines for cases where a player’s immediate family member was injured or ill, there were no waiver guidelines for when a player transferred closer to home because of their own injury or illness.
Now, the ill or injured player has to transfer to the new school within an academic year after their diagnosis, and the new school, which must be within 100 miles of the player’s family or support system, has to provide the NCAA “contemporaneous medical documentation” from the player’s “treating professional” that shows that the player is indeed “debilitated” and “was receiving treatment before the transfer.”
Plus, the new school has to explain the player’s “need to transfer” and their “treatment plan,” and the previous school’s athletic director has to provide a statement that explains why the player “indicated” they were transferring.
There were also cases where players were given waivers because they were the “victim of egregious behavior” that directly impacted “his or her health, safety or well-being.”
Previously, the player’s previous school had to provide the NCAA its “position on the waiver request.” That’s been changed. The previous school now has to provide a statement explaining why the player “indicated” they were transferring and provide proof the player is “in good academic standing.”
The changes appear to be in line with the NCAA's attempts to allay fears from coaches — including LSU's Ed Orgeron — that the transfer market was trending toward the free agency-style offseason player movement seen in professional sports.
"You have to deal with it. Obviously it’s like free agency, but you know, if you treat your players right, and most players here enjoy playing at LSU, you won’t have many problems," Orgeron said in an interview last year.
LSU's Ed Orgeron has opposed the idea of Southeastern Conference "free agency" but is fully aware of how transfers have impacted his team in r…
"Some guys are going to be unhappy. But there are some times when everybody was unhappy in their career, you just gotta push through it."
The Tigers have been involved in transfers involving several high-profile players in recent years. The Tigers' most recent pair of starting quarterbacks — Joe Burrow and Danny Etling — both joined the program as graduate transfers.
Seven LSU scholarship players have left the program via the NCAA transfer portal since the portal became an option in October, giving Division I athletes the ability to transfer to a different school and receive a scholarship without asking their original school for permission.
The NCAA's new adopted policies would affect granting waivers to players like former LSU defensive tackle Dominic Livingston, who cited "family issues" when the 6-foot-3, 350-pound Houston native announced he was transferring in February.