The one-time waiver is dead. At least for now.
The NCAA Division I Council on Wednesday chose not to make any changes to the current transfer rules for the 2020-21 academic year, instead voting to develop legislation that would only come into effect the following year, according to a report by Stage.
Earlier, there seemed to be momentum for the idea of allowing student athletes a one-time waiver to transfer to a new university and start playing immediately, without the need for a red shirt season.
However, at the end of April, the NCAA Board of Directors recommended that one-time transfer exemptions be “not allowed”.
“Board members advised that the waiver process would be sensitive to the well-being of student athletes, especially those affected by COVID-19 in the intervening period,” the NCAA statement said at the time.
With Wednesday’s vote, the NCAA pushes back the decision, although it does not completely destroy the idea.
But the delay can have a big impact on local schools like USC and UCLA.
Last month, USC quarterback JT Daniels announced its intention to enter the transfer portal and gauge other schools’ interest in its services. But Daniels never completely shut the door of USC in his statement at the time.
This was partly due to the prospect that the one-off exemption rule would not be approved. If that had been the case, Daniels would have been clear to switch and start immediately for a new school.
“I think the May 20 vote has a lot to do with what would be the next step, not just for JT but also for us,” said head coach Clay Helton said in an interview last month. “That’s really going to see children, is that something that opens the door to look at other roads and other opportunities.”
He can still switch, but then Daniels must apply for an exemption from the NCAA and must be approved to play at a new school in 2020.
Should Daniels stay with USC, it could lead to an extended battle for the starting quarterback track with Kedon Slovis, who was elevated to starter after Daniels’ season-ending ACL rip in the 2019 opener.
The postponement of the one-time waiver may also affect UCLA and USC men’s basketball programs, both of which have attempted off-season rebuilding through the transfer market.
UCLA achieved one of the best transfers available this spring with the addition of former Kentucky security guard Johnny Juzang. The former Harvard-Westlake highlight chose to leave the Wildcats after its freshman season and get closer to home with the Bruins.
Juzang is a prominent part of UCLA’s plans for 2020-21, especially given that five-star signer Daishen Nix defected to the G-League. But whether Juzang can even play is now in the air.
He had already started an exemption filing procedure after his transfer to UCLA, head coach Mick Cronin noted in April, providing information to Bruins’ compliance department.
USC is in the same boat after the addition of Long Beach State transfer Joshua Morgan, who also left his first school after his first season.
But regardless of the NCAA’s Wednesday decision, a change to the transfer rules isn’t far off.
“I think that is eligible immediately,” Cronin said in April. “Whether it’s May, next January, I don’t know, it’s the reality of things to come.”