Division II has adopted the notification of transfer model, replacing the current permission-to-contact rules with legislation that will allow student-athletes to explore transfer opportunities without being limited by their current school.
Beginning Aug. 1, Division II schools will be required to enter a student-athlete’s written request for a transfer in the NCAA Transfer Portal within seven consecutive calendar days of receipt. Division II student-athletes no longer will need to request permission from their current school to contact another school about transferring. Further, Division II schools no longer will be able to block student-athletes who transfer from their school from receiving athletics aid during their first academic year at their new school.
Division II delegates adopted the change in a tight vote Saturday morning at the Division II Business Session at the NCAA Convention in Anaheim, California. They also adopted 12 other pieces of legislation.
“A notification of transfer model will help support student-athlete well-being and promote the best interest of student-athletes,” said Krissy Ortiz, a former student-athlete on Lynn’s golf team who spoke on behalf of the national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. “This proposal will allow student-athletes to explore potential new opportunities if they are unhappy at their current institution for any reason and feel like they need to start fresh.”
The new transfer model is similar to the one adopted in 2018 in Division I. Many Division II schools already have begun to use the NCAA Transfer Portal voluntarily to bring transparency to the transfer process and ease the burden on compliance administrators.
The new model does not change the one-time transfer exception legislation, which allows the student’s former school to approve or deny immediate eligibility for competition at the new school upon transfer.
Several Division II representatives spoke in opposition to the proposal, citing concerns that the change could bring unintended consequences such as a rise in transfers and a dip in graduation rates. Ultimately, the new model passed with 53% of the vote.
“The change from permission to contact to notification of transfer directly addresses a student-athlete equity issue,” said Dan Mara, commissioner of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, who rose to speak in favor of the proposal at the Business Session. “Every student-athlete should have control over where they wish to attend college and compete in intercollegiate athletics. As we begin the discussion on student-athlete rights in the name, image and likeness space, we cannot keep this archaic process in place.”
Emerging sports for women
Division II has added two sports — acrobatics and tumbling and women’s wrestling — to the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program.
The program provides a fast track for eligible women’s sports to become full-fledged NCAA championship events, boosting athletics participation opportunities for women and sport-sponsorship options for colleges and universities. An emerging sport has a decade to grow to 40 varsity programs to reach championship status.
Currently, 29 NCAA member schools sponsor acrobatics and tumbling at the varsity level, and 20 of those schools are members of Division II. In women’s wrestling, 24 NCAA schools sponsor the sport at the varsity or club level, including 13 Division II schools.
The addition of acrobatics and tumbling and women’s wrestling brings the total number of Division II emerging sports to five. Equestrian, rugby and triathlon remain on the list.
Division II also adopted the following legislative changes:
- Athletics diversity and inclusion designee: Beginning in August, each Division II school and conference must name a diversity and inclusion designee for athletics who will serve as the primary contact for diversity and inclusion information from the NCAA national office.
- Transcript requirement for prospective studentathletes: Schools will no longer be required to obtain a current transcript before issuing a National Letter of Intent or written offer of athletics aid to a prospective studentathlete.
- Composition of active conferences: Current active Division II conferences must maintain a minimum of eight active member schools, rather than the 10school minimum that previously was slated to take effect in 2022.
- Recruiting calendar in women’s basketball: Beginning in August, the recruiting calendar in women’s basketball will be amended to extend the spring contact period through the third weekend in May and eliminate the May 18June 14 evaluation period. The new quiet period will create consistency with Division II men’s basketball and provide balance for prospective student-athletes, their families and women’s basketball coaches.
- Transfer from non-Division II school: Effective immediately, a transfer student-athlete from a non-Division II school is subject to the season-of-competition legislation applicable to the school where the student-athlete competed. Additionally, a Division III student-athlete who is charged with a season of participation for practice only under Division III legislation will not be charged with a season of competition upon transfer to a Division II school.
- Hardship waiver calculations in basketball: Basketball contests played as part of a conference challenge event will be included in both the numerator and denominator of the percent calculation and the first-half-of-season calculation for a hardship waiver.
- Start date for athletically related activities in fall sports: Fall championship sports must wait until the school’s fourth day of classes for the second term of the academic year (winter quarter or spring semester) to begin weight training, conditioning and team activities.
- Competition start date for soccer in years when the Division II National Championships Festival occurs: The first permissible date of competition in soccer will be moved up one week in years in which the Division II National Championships Festival occurs in the fall.
- Tryout length in golf: Golf tryouts for prospective studentathletes now may last up to five hours instead of two.
- Presidents Council terms of office: The term of office for the Presidents Council has been extended from four to six years. Additionally, the chair and vice chair can serve for a period of not more than three years, instead of two years.