NCAA Eliminates Hardship Waivers For Transfers

The NCAA approved a proposal on Thursday that says athletes who transfer can no longer be eligible to play immediately, even if they’re transferring for hardship purposes.

It had been a growing trend in college athletics recently that players who were unhappy could transfer to a school closer to home, usually citing wishes to be closer to a sick family member. In these cases, the athletes could file a waiver with the NCAA that, if approved, would allow them to play the next season instead of sitting out the year required of transfers. Elliot Williams left Duke for hometown Memphis and was able to play immediately. Tony Chennault left Wake Forest for Villanova and didn’t have to sit a year.

That practice is no more.

The NCAA declared that all undergraduate transfers have to sit out that first year, regardless of situation. If a player has already sat out a year for a redshirt or something similar, then he can be granted a sixth year of eligibility on the back end of his career through a hardship waiver.

The loophole that allows fifth-year graduate students to transfer and play immediately has not yet been corrected.

The impact of the rule change won’t be too grand in the big picture, but there are specific cases where it will make a difference. Now, players who make hardship transfers have to move closer to home for the right reasons.