College athletes who transfer twice can play, for now, after a judge sets aside NCAA transfer rule

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – College athletes who were denied the chance to play immediately after transferring a second time can return to competition, for now, after a federal judge issued a 14-day temporary restraining order Wednesday against the NCAA.

U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey in northern West Virginia issued the order against the NCAA from enforcing the transfer rule. A lawsuit filed by West Virginia and six other states alleged the rule’s waiver process violated federal antitrust law.

“I am granting and issuing a temporary restraining order for 14 days, enjoining the NCAA from enforcing the transfer eligibility rule, insofar as it requires the transferer to sit out for an academic year of residence, and the rule of restitution, NCAA bylaw 12-11-4-2, until a hearing on a preliminary injunction is heard Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023, at 10 o’clock a.m.,” the judge said.

The NCAA didn’t immediately indicate whether it would appeal the ruling.

NCAA rules allow underclassmen to transfer once without having to sit out a year. But an additional transfer as an undergraduate generally requires the NCAA to grant a waiver allowing the athlete to compete immediately. Without it, the athlete would have to sit out for a year at the new school.

Last January, the NCAA implemented stricter guidelines for granting those waivers on a case-by-case basis.

The states involved in seeking the restraining order were Colorado, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.