The NCAA Division I council is expected to approve a package of new guidelines that could make it more difficult for college football and basketball players who transfer to receive immediate eligibility via waivers, according to a document obtained by USA TODAY Sports.
The council is scheduled to meet Wednesday in Indianapolis to review the updated guidelines and directives, which in many cases appear to specify and narrow the circumstances in which athletes should be given waivers and raise the documentation requirements to obtain them. Compliance staffs at Division I schools were made aware of the proposals last week.
The new guidelines are not rules but essentially a set of directions for the Committee on Legislative Relief, which decides whether or not to grant the waivers…
In 2018, the NCAA implemented a new policy that would allow waivers to be granted on a case-by-case basis by the committee if the athlete could demonstrate “documented mitigating circumstances outside of the student-athlete’s control and directly impacts the health, safety or well-being of the student-athlete.”
… 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.”
How do you know the seemingly arbitrary nature of the waiver process had become a problem? Because even Tom Mars thinks an adjustment is called for.
“Across the board, the proposed new guidelines raise the bar for schools seeking a waiver on behalf of a student-athlete,” said attorney Tom Mars, who has represented a number of high-profile athletes in waiver cases over the last year. “Given the dramatic increase in the number of waivers being sought for the 2019-20 season, raising the bar strikes me as a sensible short-term reaction by the Legislative Council.”
I still say an objective, one-time open transfer makes a lot more sense. We’ll see what this leads to in the meantime.