The NCAA Division I Council voted Wednesday to grant a blanket waiver allowing all Division I transfers to play immediately this year.
The waiver covers all Division I sports, and the most immediate impact will be felt in men’s college basketball, in which a number of notable players will be able to suit up immediately — as soon as Wednesday night.
“We are thrilled at the passing of the blanket waiver, as we believe it is in line with D1 SAAC, ensuring that all of our student-athletes have the best opportunity to thrive both academically and athletically,” said Caroline Lee, vice chair of the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. “In a time of great uncertainty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we feel it is in our best interest to grant immediate eligibility for those who have transferred in order to best support their mental health and well-being.”
The NCAA was more lenient this cycle in granting waivers to traditional sit-out transfers in men’s basketball, but several waiver requests were denied or were still in limbo.
Some of the top players who are now eligible include Memphis’ DeAndre Williams, Butler’s Bo Hodges, Xavier’s Ben Stanley, Notre Dame’s Trey Wertz and Creighton’s Alex O’Connell. Miami and Pittsburgh face each other on Wednesday night, and both teams will get a boost from this news, as the Hurricanes’ Elijah Olaniyi and the Panthers’ Nike Sibande are now cleared to make their debuts.
Meghan Durham, an NCAA spokesperson, noted on Twitter that the Division I Council will consider permanent transfer-rule changes at its January meeting. It is expected that the Council will vote on a one-time transfer waiver that would allow all student-athletes to transfer once without sitting out for a year before playing.