Transferring after college drops athletic programs

Dear Eligibility Coach:

I played on the men’s basketball team at a Division II school that recently dropped all of its athletic programs. I have transferred to a Division I school and want to speak with the coach about participating on the team, but I was told that since my sport is basketball that I will have to sit out. Is there a waiver for me since my school dropped all of its sports teams?

Dear Student-Athlete:

It sounds as though you spoke with someone who is confusing two different exemptions to the general transfer rule in Division I. When most student-athletes transfer they generally try to apply the one-time transfer exception [NCAA Bylaw 14.5.5.2.10]. However, that exception is not available for student-athletes in the sports of baseball, basketball, bowl subdivision football or men’s ice hockey. Student-athletes in those sports must sit a year at the new institution before being able to compete for the new university.

In your case, since your previous university discontinued all of its sports programs you are able to use the discontinued non-sponsored sport exception [NCAA Bylaw 14.5.5.2.6] to the general transfer rule and you may compete immediately, provided you meet all other continuing eligibility requirements based on your year in school. You will not need a waiver and the new university can apply the exception itself.

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