NCAA Transfer Waiver Requests

In most cases, a student-athlete must sit out for one academic year before returning to competition when the student-athlete transfers to a different school. The NCAA has this rule to discourage student-athletes from transferring for solely athletic reasons. There are several transfer exceptions that exist for student-athletes to allow them to become immediately eligible and avoid having to sit out for a year. If a transfer student-athlete is denied one of these exceptions, then the only option left is to seek a transfer waiver. If you have legal questions about NCAA transfer waiver rules, then it is important to speak to an experienced attorney.

What is an NCAA Transfer Waiver?

A transfer waiver is a request for the NCAA to treat a transfer differently and to waive the normal application of the student-athlete transfer rules, namely the one-year academic residency requirement. A transfer waiver can be sought when the student-athlete does not meet the requirements to be eligible for a transfer exception but still has a good reason why he or she should be immediately eligible for competition.

When is an NCAA Transfer Waiver Needed?

A transfer-student athlete's new school can submit for a transfer waiver when the student-athlete is transferring from a 4-year university to another 4-year university because of circumstances outside of the student-athlete's control. The following are a couple of examples that can result in a successful transfer waiver:

  • If the student-athlete's original university is subject to competitive sanction by the NCAA for rules violations, and the student-athlete was recruited and not informed of these issues beforehand, then this can be a circumstance that is considered out of the student-athlete's control.
  • If the student-athlete was subjected to mistreatment by other students or teammates to the point that the student-athlete needed to transfer, then this can also serve as a reason to grant a transfer waiver.
  • A student-athlete can cite mental health as a reason for transferring. This will require documented evidence to demonstrate that the student-athlete was suffering from mental health issues related to attending the previous school.

These situations are usually more specific in nature and require the student-athlete to make a legitimate showing that the initial reason for the transfer was not by choice.

How Does the NCAA Transfer Waiver Process Work?

The Division I NCAA transfer waiver process can be boiled down to five general steps. The steps are as follows:

  1. A student-athlete who is enrolled at school #1 decides to transfer to school #2.
  2. The student-athlete transfers to school #2 but does not satisfy a transfer exception to allow them immediately athletic eligibility.
  3. School #2 files a transfer waiver request with the NCAA to allow the student-athlete immediate athletic eligibility.
  4. Once the transfer waiver request is received by the NCAA, they will review the request.
  5. The NCAA staff will then decide whether to approve or deny the transfer waiver request.

If the NCAA staff approves the transfer waiver request, then the student-athlete will immediately be eligible for collegiate competition and will not have to sit out for any period.

Who Decides Whether an NCAA Transfer Waiver is Granted?

AN NCAA staff member will be assigned a student-athlete transfer waiver application to decide whether it will be granted. This staff member is expected to use the guidelines, directives, and informational standards that are approved by the NCAA committee in making a decision on a transfer waiver request. The staff member is also expected to review all submitted documentation supporting the transfer waiver request.

The NCAA committee for Legislative Relief is commissioned to make the final decision on Division I student-athlete transfers. This committee is made up of seven members from Division I conferences or institutions. This committee considers three main things to determine whether a transfer waiver should be granted, they are:

  • The purpose or intent of the rules in place;
  • If a recruiting advantage will be gained by allowing a transfer waiver; and
  • The well-being of the transfer student-athlete and how involved they are in the process.

A decision on whether a transfer waiver is granted is voted on by the NCAA committee, where the majority rules. When the committee makes a decision on a waiver, that decision is final. All decisions made by the NCAA committee on any matter are final and are not subject to review by anyone.

What Factors are Considered When Determining Whether to Grant a Transfer Waiver?

When an NCAA staff member is reviewing a student-athlete transfer waiver request, they are expected to consider three key areas. These areas are:

  • Mitigation;
  • Academic records; and
  • The position of school #1.

In assessing mitigating circumstances, some of the most common claims that are made include mental health reasons, egregious behavior by others, or that the transfer student-athlete was run off by his or her team. If school #1 is in favor of a transfer student-athlete's immediate eligibility, then it can go a long way towards having a transfer waiver approved.

What is the Review Process and Timeline?

When a student-athlete transfers and his or her new school files a transfer waiver on their behalf, the waiver then must go through the review and decision process. This process typically takes around 21 days. Even though you may need a fast decision on your eligibility, the NCAA makes it clear that transfer waiver requests are never considered urgent business.

What Happens Once a Decision is Made?

If a transfer waiver request is approved, then the transfer student-athlete will be declared immediately eligible, and the case will be resolved. If a transfer waiver is denied, then a school may do one of three things; accept the decision, request reconsideration, or request an appeal.

If the school accepts the denial, then the case is closed, and the school waives any rights it has to appeal the decision. If the school requests reconsideration, then it must do so within 30 days and should provide a rationale why reconsideration is warranted. If a school requests an appeal, then it must do so within 30 days, and the case will be forwarded to the NCAA Committee for Legislative Relief. A school can request an appeal after a request for reconsideration is denied. The decision made by the NCAA committee is final. If you have legal questions about NCAA transfer waivers, then call attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm so we can help!

Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm is the Right Choice

If you are an NCAA student-athlete who needs a transfer waiver, then it is important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have successfully represented countless students across the country dealing with transfer issues. Call the us today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring the Lento Law Firm is the right choice to help you gain immediate eligibility.

Contact Us Today!

If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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