NCAA committee recommends change to transfer rules, including new benchmarks to be eligible immediately


We may be on the doorstep of free agency in college sports — including football — based on the latest news out of Indianapolis.

A press release from the NCAA confirmed that the Division I Committee on Academics is recommending that transfers, who have a specific GPA and also meet several other requirements, should be able to compete immediately at the school they are transferring to. The moves, which were formally recommended to the Transfer Working Group addressing the matter, is the latest step toward players not needing to sit out a year when changing schools.

While the end result is what most people will focus on, the nitty-gritty details are also important in such a move by NCAA brass and member schools. The benchmarks the Committee on Academics passed along included having a GPA between 3.0 and 3.3 (or higher, obviously), that students be academically eligible at the time they elect to transfer and are on-track to earn a degree within five years. And yes, this will all apply to freshman as equally as it does to seniors.

“This issue is very complex, and we want to give input to the working group that is both meaningful and useful,” committee chair John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown, said in a statement. “We recognize the working group will examine this in a more detailed and nuanced way. From our perspective, an academic benchmark should be set at a level that will help support the student’s path to graduation.”

While it is too late for the new transfer system to go into effect for the 2018 season, it’s possible the reforms could start to be phased in beginning in 2019. Other rules such as the one-time graduate transfer exception would then be sunsetted in 2020 to allow everybody to take advantage of a transfer without running into any snags in becoming eligible right away.

The next major milestone in the process should be in mid-April when the Division I Transfer Working Group meets again. Based on the recommendations from the related Committee on Academics, the group should have no shortage of things to discuss and consider as the transfer rules do indeed look primed for a complete overhaul in the not too distant future.

Utah State player upgraded to fair condition after collapse

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Utah State redshirt freshman wide receiver Josh Davis is in fair condition on Friday, one day after collapsing at spring football practice following sudden cardiac arrest, the university announced.

Davis, initially was listed in critical condition, was breathing on his own. He is in the intensive-care unit at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah.

Davis’ parents arrived in Utah on Thursday evening.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Davis, who is from Carlsbad, California, collapsed at Merlin Olsen Field and was immediately treated by the training staff, the university said. He was taken to Logan Regional Hospital.

The university said Davis was stabilized in the Logan hospital before being moved to Ogden.

Alabama suspends freshman defensive back after drug arrest

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama freshman defensive back Tony Mitchell has been suspended from the team following his arrest on a drug charge.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Monday after the first practice of spring that Mitchell was suspended from the team “and all team activities until we gather more information about the situation and what his legal circumstance is.”

The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrested Mitchell and another man, Christophere Lewis, last week on a charge of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page. Lewis also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.

“Everybody’s got an opportunity to make choices and decisions,” Saban said. “There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You’ve gotta be responsible for who you’re with, who you’re around and what you do, who you associate yourself with and the situations that you put yourself in. It is what it is, but there is cause and effect when you make choices and decisions that put you in bad situations.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a five-star prospect rated the 34th-best player and No. 3 safety in the 247Composite rankings.

Mitchell was driving the vehicle during a traffic stop. After deputies smelled marijuana, Mitchell picked up a baggie of marijuana from the passenger floorboard, according to the department’s Facebook post.

Sheriff’s deputies found “an additional significant amount of marijuana, a set of scales, a loaded handgun between the passenger seat and center console, and a large amount of cash,” according to the department’s Facebook post.