The NCAA is soon set to make official legislation that would make the rumored one-time transfer rule law across the country, which would have a major impact on roster building in all sports. The finer details are still being worked out, but the long and the short of the proposal is that players will now be allowed one transfer during their eligibility window that allows them to leave for any school without the penalty of sitting out for a year.
Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh was among the coaches pushing for something like this to go through eventually.
“Right now, every NCAA-sponsored sport except football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball and men’s ice hockey already uses the one-time transfer exception,” The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach wrote recently. Those five sports require transfers to sit out for a year unless they are granted an immediate-eligibility waiver. This proposal, if adopted, would extend the provisions of the one-time exception to all sports.”
Fall sports athletes will have to inform their schools of their intent to transfer by May 1 — July 1 if there is some sort of coaching change or scholarship not renewed — and they must leave their school academically eligible.
When pouring over the news, it struck me as a rule that could pay dividends for Juwan Howard and the men’s basketball team as soon as next year. The 2021-22 roster could see them having as many as seven roster spots available, which is obviously some pretty massive turnover. Four of those slots are currently taken by the 2021 recruiting class with the potential for another recruit or two to join.
With that said, there is a chance Michigan cannot fill all of the spots with recruits, as we saw in the last class with the last-minute decisions from Josh Christopher and Isaiah Todd to go elsewhere. That led to a strong pursuit of talent via the transfer portal with Mike Smith coming in as a graduate from Columbia and Chaundee Brown coming over from Wake Forest. Brown is still waiting on his waiver to go through to be eligible to play immediately for the Wolverines, but if he were in this position if this rule was in effect, he would not have to submit any paperwork for the chance to play early.
Michigan has a massive hole at center to address in the 2021 class with Efton Reid, Charles Bediako, and Moussa Diabate still on the board. Should the Wolverines be in a position where they strike out here, the transfer portal is a logical place to add a body to the roster as depth behind Hunter Dickinson on the roster for 2021-22. If Michigan has more classes where they are set to turn over almost half the group, the one-time transfer could help them add offseason classes that give them the ideal mixture of youth and proven experience.
The blanket waiver for all sports is expected to go into effect in time for the winter term, so this is certainly something on the way. Every year there are surprising names that wind up in the portal and now that players appear to be on the verge of a one-time transfer without penalty, it very well could boost the talent in the portal to a place we have yet to see. Given the fact that Howard at one point this offseason had three transfers committed (including the Nojel Eastern saga, of course), it is another tool in his back pocket as he continues to shape the future of the program.