Big Ten makes changes to transfer rule

April, 19, 2012
4/19/12
4:28
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The Big Ten altered its transfer rule within the conference for the 2011-12 season and beyond -- and long before this week's Bo Ryan-Jarrod Uthoff controversy.

The league is allowing players to receive grant-in-aid, but it is also putting a harsher eligibility penalty in place that takes away a year of play from the transfer.

Chad Hawley, the Big Ten’s associate commissioner of compliance, said Thursday that the rule change was created to prevent penalizing players from receiving scholarship money. But the conference wanted to add a penalty if the player transferred within the conference.

[+] EnlargeBo Ryan
AP Photo/Chris CarlsonThe list of schools Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan banned Jarrod Uthoff from transferring to includes the ACC, Iowa State, Florida and Marquette.
The old rule stated that once a player signed a grant-in-aid agreement at one Big Ten school, he could transfer to a second Big Ten school but would not be allowed to receive any financial aid.

The new rule, adopted for this current academic year, allows a player to receive the aid, but he would have to sit out the NCAA-required one-year in residence and lose a season of eligibility.

So in the case of Wisconsin’s Jarrod Uthoff, he would be allowed under Big Ten rules -- if Wisconsin didn’t block him -- to transfer to the University of Iowa (his home state school). However, he’d have only three seasons of eligibility left, not four. And Uthoff would have to sit again after redshirting this past season. Uthoff hasn’t publicly expressed an interest of going to Iowa or another Big Ten school.

The Big Ten does allow for an exception if there is a complete release by the original institution that signed the player.

Hawley said the Big Ten has had only one in-conference request this past year, and it was for the sport of wrestling.

Michigan coach John Beilein has a long-standing policy in which he doesn’t allow transfers to go to a conference-member school or to a school that’s on the team’s schedule over a two-year period. Evan Smotrycz transferred to Maryland, an ACC member, without any issues since the Terps were where he wanted to go and wasn’t on Beilein’s banned list, according to a school spokesperson.

Ohio State only blocked sophomores J.D. Weatherspoon and Jordan Sibert from transferring within the Big Ten, according to a school spokesperson.

Uthoff’s case drew national attention because Badgers coach Bo Ryan’s banned list included the ACC (due to the ACC-Big Ten Challenge), Iowa State, Florida and Marquette, the latter two because both schools are on Wisconsin’s schedule.

“It’s fairly common practice to have conference to conference transfer policies,’’ Hawley said. “We wanted to get away from the financial aid penalty but keep something in place, and this is the model we settled on.

“In a sport like basketball, you have to sit a year and what our rule does is charge a season of competition, too,’’ Hawley said.

Here is the specific Big Ten intraconference transfer rules from the conference:

Intraconference Transfer Rules.

1. Pre-Matriculation. A prospective student-athlete who has signed a tender from a Conference institution and has not yet triggered transfer status per NCAA Bylaw 14.5.2 (conditions affecting transfer status), is subject to the following intraconference transfer requirements:

a. Signed National Letter of Intent. A prospective student-athlete who signs a valid National Letter of Intent (NLI) with a Conference institution but subsequently enrolls at an alternate Big Ten institution shall be required to complete one (1) full year of residence at the alternate (i.e., certifying) Big Ten institution and shall be charged with the loss of one (1) season of eligibility in all sports. These penalties shall be applied regardless of any decision made by the NLI Steering Committee on behalf of the prospective student-athlete.

1. Exception - Complete Release by Signing Institution. If the Big Ten institution at which the prospective student-athlete originally signed the NLI grants a "Complete Release" from the NLI, the prospect shall be permitted to enroll at any other Conference institution without penalty.

2. Exception - NLI Declared Null and Void. Should the NLI become null and void prior to the prospective student-athlete's matriculation, the prospective student-athlete shall be free to enroll at any other Conference institution without penalty.

b. Signed Tender without National Letter of Intent. A prospective student-athlete that signs a valid tender with a Conference institution but subsequently enrolls at an alternate Big Ten institution shall be required to complete one (1) full academic year of residence at the alternate (i.e.,
certifying) Big Ten institution and shall be charged with the loss of one
(1) season of eligibility in all sports. Upon mutual agreement of the two involved Conference institutions, this penalty shall be waived by the Chair of the Academics and Eligibility Subcommittee.
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2. Post Matriculation. A student-athlete that has signed a tender from a Conference institution and has triggered transfer status per NCAA Bylaw 14.5.2 (conditions affecting transfer status), may not represent an alternate Big Ten institution in intercollegiate athletics competition until the individual has completed one (1) full academic year of residence at the alternate (i.e.,
certifying) Big Ten institution and shall be charged with the loss of one (1) season of eligibility in all sports.

3. Pre- and Post-Matriculation Exceptions

a. Cancellation of Tender Due to Inadmissibility. When a prospective student-athlete is inadmissible to the institution for which a tender has been accepted, the tender shall be considered null and void and the intraconference transfer penalty does not apply.

b. Dropped Sport. When a Conference institution drops the student-athlete's sport in which the student-athlete has participated, the intraconference penalty does not apply.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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