Pac-12 spring meetings preview: Time to start lifting restrictions on intra-conference transfers

The law of the land could become the policy of the Pac-12 this month if, as expected, the conference takes a momentous step and eliminates restrictions governing intra-conference transfers.

As the search for a new commissioner plays out at the presidential level, athletic department administrators and conference officials will gather (remotely) this week for the Pac-12’s annual spring meetings.

Atop their agenda: The fate of underclassmen in football and basketball who desire a change of scenery but wish to remain in the conference.

Current Pac-12 regulations require undergraduate, intra-conference transfers to sit out one season as redshirts upon arrival at their new school.

But last week, in a long-awaited move, the NCAA Board of Directors ratified legislation granting immediate eligibility for athletes the first time they transfer. (The rule also applies to baseball and hockey.)

The Pac-12 could continue to enforce the redshirt year — leagues aren’t required to set policies that mirror the NCAA’s position.

But multiple sources believe the conference will lift the redshirt restriction and align with NCAA policy, thereby allowing players to be eligible next season if they transfer from one Pac-12 school to another by July 1.

The new rule, which would be permanent, only applies the first time an undergraduate transfers.

It also would take roster turnover to the next level.

“Hold onto your butts,” Stanford coach David Shaw said last week when asked about the pending change.

But the Pac-12 would risk an internal revolt and blowback on the recruiting trail if the conference’s approach to player movement remains more restrictive than the national policy.

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The ACC eliminated its intra-conference redshirt rule in March.

The Mountain West did the same last week.

“In the era of putting the player first, not changing the rule would be a pointless, self-inflicted wound that doesn’t help keep top talent in the region and holds naive kids accountable for misleading recruiting tactics,” said a Pac-12 source heavily involved in football recruiting.

“It needs to be changed, no question.”

The Pac-12 Council, which consists of athletic directors, senior women administrators, faculty athletic representatives and the student-athlete leadership team, is expected to vote on the matter during the three-day meetings that begin Tuesday.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

      

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