NCAA changes transfer waiver rules
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
All summer, college basketball coaches have bemoaned what some have termed a transfer epidemic.
More than 440 players switched schools, and many applied for waivers to gain immediate eligibility.
The NCAA told USA TODAY Sports 15 such waivers were granted for eligibility for the 2011-12 season and 17 were denied. But with a nearly 50% success rate, it’s made applying for waivers a popular decision.
“We have more (transfers) than ever, and they’re not done in an equitable manner,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said last month. Duke’s transfer player, Rodney Hood from Mississippi State, has not applied for a waiver, but Krzyzewski joked, “We’re thinking about that, if we get one more guy injured, that he should apply for a waiver.”
The NCAA announced Friday afternoon that it will use altered guidelines when determining which players will receive waivers to play immediately after transferring. The changes affect those athletes attempting to use the waiver to play at a school closer to home because of the injury or illness of an immediate family member.
Among the stricter guidelines are requiring medical documentation of the immediate family member’s debilitating injury or illness and dictating the school to which the player is transferring be within a 100-mile radius of the immediate family member.
The NCAA said the changes were made in response to current waiver trends and a belief among its membership that waiver decisions had not been made on a consistent basis. Members of the Division I legislative council’s subcommittee for legislative relief, formed at the urging of NCAA President Mark Emmert, made the changes.
Some coaches, such as Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stallings, think programs and players have exploited this particular kind of waiver in recent years.
“You hear the things, ‘My such and such is sick.’ Well, then you should have gone to the hometown school to begin with, as far as I’m concerned,” Stallings said last month. “Things are being manipulated and taken advantage of. As soon as you allow that, then Pandora’s box opens and people are trying to, again, ‘My second cousin’s aunt’s uncle is sick, and I want to play right away.’ “