What Are the NCAA’s Athlete Transfer Exceptions?

NCAA Athlete Transfer

athleteUniversity of Nevada Las Vegas guard, Bryce Dejean-Jones, is just the latest college athlete to consider requesting a transfer from his or her school and he most certainly won’t be the last. In most cases, athletes are required to sit out a year, but Dejean-Jones is expected to complete his degree at UNLV and potentially seek transfer through the graduate exception, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

The graduate exception is a one-time transfer exception that allows players with eligibility left to transfer to a school that offers a graduate degree program not provided at his or her current institution.


The following are some of the other exceptions athletes can take advantage of:

  • Family hardship waivers – If a player wants to transfer to a school closer to home because his or her family is experiencing hardship, the NCAA may grant them a waiver. Factors that are considered include the nature of the injury or illness and the students responsibilities related to the care of the person who is ill or injured.
  • One-time transfer exception – Often seen as a last resort, college athletes may be able to use the one-time transfer exception. However, athletes in Division 1 football, men’s or women’s basketball and baseball can’t use this exception. The school also has to agree to allow the player to be released for his or her scholarship.

Many would argue that the NCAA is hypocritical by allowing coaches to move from school to school without penalty, but the same can’t be said for athletes. Some people have tried to challenge this in the past, but have been unsuccessful. It will be interesting to see if a ruling goes the other way in the future that causes the NCAA to change its transfer rules.

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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