What’s going to happen to college basketball transfers in 2020-21?

The NCAA Division I council has opted not to vote on one-time transfer waiver legislation, which would have allowed undergraduate men’s and women’s basketball players to transfer without having to sit out for a year. Here are the implications, and what’s next:

The one-time transfer legislation isn’t happening for this season. When might it happen? When could a vote be taken on the legislation?

After originally planning to vote on May 20, the Division I Council instead opted to commit to a potential legislative change in January. The resolution, if adopted, would make transfer eligibility uniform across all sports, allowing student-athletes to immediately compete following their first transfer. In order to be considered for legislative change in January, a full proposal needs to be introduced by the beginning of November. By then, the Council — and potentially the transfer waiver working group — will have to figure out “academic requirements, roster management considerations, transfer notification dates” and other potential issues.

If it’s voted on and adopted in January 2021, it will go into effect for the 2021-22 academic year.

Before the coronavirus pandemic placed all of college sports in a holding pattern, the one-time transfer legislation was widely expected to pass. Do you still expect it to pass?

It seems that every entity involved in the process wants it to pass. The NCAA made it clear in its statement earlier this month that the waiver process is “unsustainable” and has become overwhelmed by requests. The transfer waiver working group already proposed a change, and now the Division I Council and board of directors have made it clear they are interested, but through a legislative change as opposed to a change to the waiver process.

There has been momentum building for a change for some time, and I still expect it to pass in January.

The immediate focus now shifts to “sit-out transfers” who will have to apply for waivers in order to play in 2020-21. What percentage of these players do you expect to apply for waivers, and what is your sense of whether the NCAA will grant these waivers?

I expect a massive increase in waiver applications. One, plenty of student-athletes who entered the portal were likely under the impression they wouldn’t have to sit out next season. Some of those players are likely to apply for a waiver. Two, there will be coronavirus-related waiver requests, with players choosing to play closer to home or simply leave a certain state. That’s in addition to the usual waiver requests from players who saw their coaches leave or felt they were forced to leave.

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