AG Stein announces settlement with NCAA over multiple transfer rule

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Thursday, May 30, 2024
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced Thursday that he and attorneys general of several other states have reached a proposed settlement with the National Collegiate Athletic Association about transfer rules.

The deal means the NCAA would permanently ease restrictions on Division I college athletes who have transferred schools multiple times and allow them to play immediately after changing schools.

The agreement must be approved by U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey.

The attorneys general who brought the legal action argued the NCAA's current policy was an illegal restraint on athletes' ability to pursue their best opportunities.

"Student-athletes should have the same freedom that coaches, administrators, and other students have," Stein said. "I'm pleased that the NCAA came to the table. Now, every student-athlete will be able to make whatever decisions are best for them."

MORE | View the full settlement judgment

The NCAA's transfer eligibility rule required athletes who transferred among Division I schools to wait one year before competing in games unless they were granted a waiver. The rule was widely criticized and challenged because of its inconsistent applications. The NCAA consistently denied waivers, which affected several area athletes such as University of North Carolina football player Devontez Walker, NC State basketball player Kam Woods, and Wake Forest basketball player Efton Reid from playing for their teams for parts of last year.

The AGs and the U.S. Department of Justice sued the NCAA in December, accusing it of violating antitrust laws with its unfair restrictions on second-time transfers.

The Northern District of West Virginia granted the states' request for a preliminary injunction, forbidding the NCAA from enforcing the transfer rule through at least the 2024 spring sports season.

The agreement also:

  • Prevents the NCAA from retaliating against institutions and athletes who have challenged the transfer rule.
  • Restores an additional year of eligibility to Division I athletes who, because of the transfer rule, were forced to sit out for any season since the 2019-20 academic year.
  • Prohibits the NCAA from undermining or circumventing the settlement through future actions, rules, or policies.

Stein was joined in signing on to this agreement by the attorneys general of Ohio, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice.