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NCAA Transformation

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At this week’s 2022 NCAA convention in Indianapolis, just blocks away from the NCAA’s own headquarters, college leaders are poised to take the first step in the process of transforming how college athletics governs itself. A new, streamlined constitution—one that grants authority to each division to create its own policy—is expected to be approved Thursday in a vote of Division I, II and III members.


It sets the stage for a much more important step: the restructuring of Division I.


A microcosm of the NCAA, Division I is a fractured group of 350 schools, 32 conferences and three subsections—FBS, FCS and non-football-playing members—whose differing resources, missions and abilities have made it nearly impossible to regulate competitive equity. There is animosity and tension among them, mostly centered on how rules are made and how money is distributed and spent.



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The long-feared secession of the Power 5 is not expected during this spring’s NCAA transformation process, multiple college leaders say. That doesn’t mean those same administrators believe it isn’t the correct course of action.

In a study conducted by the NCAA, two-thirds of Power 5 executives believe a governance change is needed and suggestions include a Power 5 breakaway from D-I or an FBS breakaway from NCAA oversight. In fact, one anonymous SEC president wrote in the survey that the Power 5 “should be an organization unto itself” and leave the NCAA to manage everyone else.


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Student-athletes who transfer will be guaranteed their financial aid at their next school through graduation, the Division I Board of Directors decided Wednesday.


NCAA rules now will require any school that considers athletics when awarding scholarships to transfer student-athletes to provide that scholarship for the rest of a student's five-year eligibility or until they complete the requirements for their bachelor's degree, unless the student transfers again or engages in professional athletics opportunities.

College athletes in all sports will continue to be immediately eligible the first time they transfer, provided they notify their schools in writing during designated notification-of-transfer windows (as determined by their sport.) 

The board adopted the following notification-of-transfer windows:

  • Fall sports: a 45-day window beginning the day after championships selections are made in their sport, or May 1-15.
    • Reasonable accommodations will be made for participants in the Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision championship games. 
  • Winter sports: a 60-day window beginning the day after championships selections are made in the sport.
  • Spring sports: Dec. 1-15, or a 45-day window beginning the day after selections are made in the sport. 

The legislation also establishes exceptions to the new windows for student-athletes who experience head coach changes or have athletics aid reduced, canceled or not renewed.

The board also adopted new, more specific standards for immediate eligibility waivers for student-athletes who do not otherwise meet the one-time transfer exception, focusing on student-athlete well-being or circumstances outside the student-athlete's control.

The board opted not to enact a new exception to the transfer rules that would allow student-athletes to transfer multiple times and be immediately eligible if they meet progress-toward-degree requirements at their new school. However, the board remains committed to continuing to study the impact of the new transfer rules in both the short and long term.



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