The Kentucky Wildcats just picked up a traditional transfer in the form of Rhode Island forward Jacob Toppin.
A ‘traditional’ transfer involves players who aren’t graduate transfers and must sit out for one season under NCAA transfer rules, barring a hardship waiver.
However, the NCAA is set to vote in May on applying a one-time transfer waiver for any college athlete, thus preventing them from having to sit out an entire season before becoming eligible.
When the offseason began, the expectation was it would apply to the 2020-21 season. Then there was buzz it wouldn’t go into effect until 2021-22.
Now, Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader is reporting that, while there are still mixed signals within the college basketball world, the one-time transfer waiver is expected to pass and apply to next season, meaning Toppin should be eligible to suit up for the Wildcats right away.
The NCAA told the Herald-Leader a few weeks ago that the change, if passed, would go into effect immediately for the 2020-21 season. An NCAA spokeswoman referred to the new set of transfer guidelines as “a change to waiver criteria” that could be applied right away, not an outright rule change that would need additional time to be implemented.
There is now conflicting information in college basketball and recruiting circles as to whether the new guidelines will go into effect for next season, and it will probably be several more weeks, at least, before any changes to the transfer guidelines are made official. An NCAA spokeswoman reiterated to the Herald-Leader on Thursday that the NCAA is continuing to work toward a new criteria that would change transfer guidelines for the 2020-21 academic year.
Adding to this, D1 Baseball’s Kendall Rogers reported last week that the NCAA was trending back toward putting the one-time transfer rule into effect for 2020-21:
SOURCES: The @NCAA Division I Council will discuss the implementation of a one-time transfer waiver on April 24. The Council will not vote on it that day, but a vote IS expected to take place on May 20. Told the measure is expected to pass and would immediately apply. Stay tuned.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) April 10, 2020
The NCAA’s decision will directly affect players transferring from and to Kentucky. In addition to Toppin, former Kentucky guard Johnny Juzang left the school and transferred to UCLA earlier this month. He’ll likely have to sit out unless the one-time transfer rule is passed.
Now, even if the rule passes, it’s not necessarily a lock that Toppin would play next season. Though he showed some flashes of potential at Rhode Island, he’s still viewed as a long-term project. And with Kentucky bringing in Lance Ware, Isaiah Jackson and possibly Matt Haarms to join Keion Brooks Jr. in the frontcourt, it’s possible the staff wants Toppin to redshirt next season.
But if Toppin is ready to make an impact next season, then hopefully he’ll have the chance to do so by having this new transfer policy go into effect.