The NCAA recently announced that it was changing the transfer waiver guidelines used to determine whether an athlete must sit out a year after switching schools. The changes specifically apply to cases in which a student-athlete wants to return to a school closer to home due to the illness or injury of an immediate family member.
As outlined by the NCAA, staff are now directed to consider relief when:
- The school presents medical documentation of a debilitating injury or illness to a student-athlete’s immediate family member that is debilitating and requires ongoing medical care. The previous standard had been “life-threatening.”
- The student-athlete demonstrates he or she will be responsible for regular, ongoing caregiving responsibilities. The previous standard required the student-athlete to be the primary, day-to-day caregiver.
- The school is within a 100-mile radius of the immediate family member’s home, which demonstrates the ability for the student-athlete to provide regular, ongoing care. Previously, no distance limitation was in place.
- The school to which the student-athlete is transferring must submit a statement from the athletics director and faculty athletics representative confirming that the student-athlete will be relieved of responsibilities to the team in order to care for the injured or ill family member, and that the coaching staff will support such a departure.
The amended guidelines update the standard for the staff to use when making waiver decisions. However, they must still consider a number of other factors, including medical documentation regarding the ill family member and written statements from the athlete. In addition, any staff decision can be appealed to the full Legislative Council Subcommittee for Legislative Relief.