NCAA Reaches Settlement Agreement in Transfer Rule Case

Written by Kassandra Ramsey, Esq.

Yesterday, the NCAA reached a settlement in the transfer rule case that was filed against the association in December 2023. The NCAA was sued by seven state attorney generals in a case known as State of Ohio et. al v. NCAA. Soon after the lawsuit was filed, six other states joined.

Details of the Case

The NCAA was sued for denying immediate eligibility waivers to several college athletes who transferred more than one time. In 2021, the NCAA amended their transfer rules to allow college athletes to transfer to another school one time without needing a waiver. However, if an athlete wished to transfer a second time the athlete would need to get a waiver from the NCAA to be immediately eligible to play their sport.

Last December, University of West Virginia basketball player, RaeQuan Battle's waiver was denied after he transferred to West Virginia after his coach left his previous school. Athletes at other schools found themselves in similar situations, which led to the lawsuit. The plaintiff states sought to stop the enforcement of the NCAA's transfer rules claiming that the rules violated federal antitrust law. More specifically, the plaintiff states argued that the NCAA's transfer rules unduly restrained an athlete's ability to engage in the market for their labor. In December, the judge issued the temporary restraining order. Shortly after, a preliminary injunction stopping the enforcement of the NCAA's transfer rules was implemented.

The Settlement

Yesterday, the NCAA reached a settlement in the case. Per the settlement agreement, the NCAA can no longer enforce its Transfer Eligibility Rule requiring athletes to maintain a period of residence at the new school before being allowed to play their respective sport. The NCAA is also required to provide an additional year of eligibility to any Division I athletes who was declared ineligible to compete for a season or any portion of a season during or since the 2019-2020 academic year due to the Transfer Eligibility Rule.

To qualify for this extra year of eligibility, the athlete must have transferred between two schools more than once, must be currently enrolled at a Division I school, and must be currently eligible to compete or their eligibility expired at the end of a season completed during the 2023-2024 academic year. It is important to note that this settlement only applies to Division I, not Division II and Division III. In the last two weeks, the NCAA have reached settlement agreements in two major cases with ramifications that will completely change college athletics.

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