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NCAA approves extra year of eligibility for basketball players, proposes one-time transfer exception, and more

ncaa-basketball-football-eligibility-transfer-extra-winter-sports-coronvairus-legislation-nil Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats’ men’s and women’s basketball teams began preseason practice on Wednesday, and on the same day the players on those teams learned the upcoming season won’t count toward their eligibility.

The NCAA Division I Council has approved a proposal that will give all winter sports athletes an extra year of eligibility, as well as an extra year to use it. The NCAA had previously granted extra years to spring and fall student-athletes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc on college sports.

For Arizona, this means seniors Ira Lee, Terrell Brown, Aari McDonald, Sam Thomas and Trinity Baptiste would be allowed to return for the 2021-22 season if they chose.

The extra year of eligibility was one of several key items the Division I Council acted on Wednesday:

One-time transfer waiver legislation introduced

Long rumored to be in the works, the NCAA is finally moving forward with a proposal to allow athletes in all sports to transfer once without having to sit out. Currently, athletes in baseball, football, men’s and women’s basketball and men’s ice hockey had to sit out one season unless they received a waiver or were a graduate student.

Under the proposal, which would need to be approved at the 2021 NCAA Convention in January, student-athletes would have to provide written notification of their intent to transfer by May 1 for fall and winter sports and July 1 for spring sports. Exceptions would be allowed for cases where a head coaching change occurred or a scholarship was cancelled.

If passed, the change would go into effect for the 2021-22 school year. It would also mean that graduate transfers would no longer be immediately eligible if they had already used their one-time transfer exception, according to Ralph Russo of the Associated Press.

Football bowl eligibility not tied .500 record in 2020

FBS football teams won’t be required to have a .500 record to play in a bowl game this season after the NCAA approved the Football Oversight Committee’s recommendation to scrap normal bowl eligibility requirements for 2020.

Normally, both a .500 record and at least six wins against FBS opponents were needed to play in a bowl, with a few exceptions. The win threshold may prove impossible for most teams this year with shorter schedules—the Pac-12 is playing a 7-game slate—as well as the possibility of canceled games due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

NIL legislation introduced

Student-athletes may soon be allowed to profit off their name, image or likeness under legislation officially introduced on Wednesday.

If approved, college athletes could receive compensation for:

  • autographs and personal appearances
  • private lessons
  • commercial or personal products and services
  • promoting camps and clinics

Student-athletes would not be allowed to use their school’s markings (logos, etc.) in any advertisements, endorsements, personal appearances or promotions. Schools would not be allowed to aid athletes in securing such agreements, and the student-athletes would have to disclose any and all NIL activities.

The NCAA is expected to vote on the legislation in January.