On the last day of the SEC spring meetings, the conference presidents approved the rule change at the top of their list and at the head of discussions among its coaches and media in recent weeks.
According to multiple reports, the SEC has approved immediate eligibility for student-athletes who graduate and transfer within the conference.
This issue has been in and out of the spotlight since Maurice Smith transferred from Alabama to Georgia before the 2016 season amid plenty of drama. The discussion re-entered the spotlight this week as another Alabama player, offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy, sought to transfer within the SEC after graduating.
He had been blocked by conference rules limiting transfers and immediate eligibility even for graduates.
Prior to the approval of the rule change Friday, graduate students were still subject to transfer rules similar to those for undergraduates, meaning they could be blocked from transferring within the conference unless they opted to sit out a full season. Graduate student-athletes needed waivers to transfer and play immediately within the conference.
Alabama coach Nick Saban and LSU coach Ed Orgeron were among the critics of granting intra-conference grad transfers immediate eligibility, arguing it created a type of free agency in college football, while Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Tennessee’s Jeremy Pruitt and South Carolina’s Will Muschamp expressed support for the now-approved rule, arguing a variety of points, including that once a student earns his degree, his next move should be up to him and that coaches in the conference can already move from program to program without penalty.
The implementation date of the new SEC rule depends on an NCAA ruling on a related proposal on student-athletes notifying their current teams about transferring, as explained by Alex Byington of the Times Daily in Alabama.
Some clarification: Even if the NCAA transfer working group's "notification" proposal passes later this month, it wouldn't go into effect until Oct. 15.
So until then, SEC schools still have the ability to dictate/block where transfers (re: Kennedy) go, especially within the SEC. https://t.co/RLP8wi917j
— Alex Byington (@_AlexByington) June 1, 2018
Greg Sankey, the SEC commissioner, is scheduled to speak at the conference meetings at 3 p.m. ET Friday, when he’s likely to address the approval of this grad-transfer rule. Stay with SEC Country for the latest updates.