NCAA allows blanket waivers for all transfers immediately

The seats are empty in the Events Center as no fans are allowed in to watch Colorado host Omaha in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The NCAA's Division I Council has granted blanket waivers for all athletes to play immediately.

The NCAA's announcement Wednesday includes all Division I sports, but is contingent on certain criteria.

Transfers previously were required to sit out a season unless granted a waiver by the NCAA. The NCAA had decided on waivers on a case-by-case basis, but had been more lenient as the coronavirus pandemic depleted rosters.

“The Council continued its trend of voting in favor of maximum flexibility for student-athletes during the pandemic,” said Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletic director at Pennsylvania. “Allowing transfer student-athletes to compete immediately will provide additional opportunities to student-athletes during this continued difficult time, and perhaps allow games to be played that otherwise might not have been.”

The decision should have an immediate impact on basketball programs, with some transfers becoming eligible for games on Wednesday. Among the players who should give their programs a big boost include Creighton's Alex O'Connell, Memphis' DeAndre Williams, Miami's Elijah Olaniyi, Xavier's Ben Stanley and Notre Dame's Trey Wertz.

“I tip my cap to @NCAA for their forward thinking by passing today’s transfer waiver,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey tweeted. “It will help multiple sports, student-athletes & programs stay healthy & competitive as we try to remain on course through this pandemic.”

The waiver only applies to transfers from other Division I schools. The regular transfer waiver process will be used for non-Division I transfers.

Transfers must already be enrolled fulltime at the current school for the 2020 fall term and it must be their first transfer from a four-year school. Transfers must have left their previous school in good standing academically and are not facing disciplinary suspension.

The NCAA's Division Council is expected consider permanent transfer rules at a meeting next month that would allow all athletes to transfer once without having to sit out a year.