The SEC announced Thursday it will allow immediate eligibility for intraconference transfers following a vote by league presidents and chancellors.
The change in policy, which takes effect immediately, comes after the NCAA adopted a legislation in April allowing a universal one-time transfer opportunity for student-athletes across all sports.
Even though the NCAA already approved the one-time transfer rule, the SEC had yet to do the same with its intraconference transfer rule. Previously, if a player transferred within the SEC, they either had to apply for an immediate eligibility waiver or sit out the season.
As a result of the SEC’s new policy, student-athletes who transfer directly within the league will no longer be required to serve an automatic year in residence at their new school before being eligible for competition.
“This is an important measure to further support student-athletes throughout the Southeastern Conference,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey in a press release. “While maintaining the expectation that coaches and others avoid improper recruiting, this change will ensure that student-athletes who enroll at an SEC member institution will enjoy the flexibility afforded to other student-athletes across the nation.”
For Kentucky, this rule could have affected Sahvir Wheeler, who transferred in from Georgia this offseason as a traditional transfer, not a grad transfer. There was never any real doubt the SEC would start allowing one-time transfers within the conference after nearly every other league in America began doing so.
Still, it’s nice to know this is no longer something Kentucky will have to worry about in regards to getting Wheeler eligible next season, as he’s now good to go.
Kentucky’s other incoming transfers — Oscar Tshiebwe, Kellan Grady and CJ Fredrick — are coming in from other conferences and transferring for the first time in their college careers, so they’re good to go as well for next season.
Just last season, Kentucky football faced a similar situation with former Auburn Tigers transfer Joey Gatewood. For him, it took months for the approval to come because the SEC rule was still in place, and he ended up not being eligible until Week 2 of the regular season.