The NCAA passed landmark legislation on Thursday, as it will now allow athletes to transfer one time without having to forfeit a year of eligibility.
The transfer rule will take place immediately with regards to the 2021-2022 academic year.
The NCAA released a statement on the matter. The decision will need to be ratified by Division I Board of Directors, who are set to meet on April 28.
This will obviously have massive ramifications on both college football and basketball. The Georgia men’s basketball team has already landed three transfer players in the past week in anticipation of the rule being passed. The football team also saw eight scholarship players enter the transfer portal since the start of the 2020 season as well.
This decision will have a significant impact on the Georgia football program in the immediate and long-term future as well.
The latest with Tykee Smith
Georgia has already dipped into the transfer portal once this offseason, landing West Virginia defensive back Tykee Smith in April. Smith is not a graduate transfer, as he has three years of eligibility remaining.
Per our unofficial count, Georgia currently sits at 83 scholarship players for the 2021 season. That does not include super seniors Devonte Wyatt, Justin Shaffer and Demetris Robertson as they are taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA and will not count towards the 85-man roster.
Georgia has been preparing for this, as evidenced by the fact the Bulldogs signed only 20 players as a part of the 2021 recruiting class. That is the fewest amount of prospects Smart has brought in since taking over as the program’s head coach following the 2015 season.
Even with the addition of Smith, Georgia still has some pretty obvious needs. Cornerback is a spot that Georgia could really benefit from when it comes to adding someone with playing experience. Following the injury to George Pickens, wide receiver also becomes a bigger need.
The transfer portal does work both ways though and Georgia very likely could see more players enter following the competition of spring practice. Tyrqiue Stevenson was expected to be a major part of the Georgia defense, but he still elected to transfer back home to Miami back in January.
The transfer portal will be a constant give and take, making managing a roster all the more difficult.
3. What happens with the SEC’s intraconference transfer rule?
While the SEC did allow a one-time blanket waiver for transfers to get immediate eligibility during the 2020 season, it has not yet changed that rule going forward. That would mean that players such as Cade Mays or Otis Reese, who transferred from Georgia to other SEC schools, would still have to sit out a season.
With the NCAA changing its rule, some conferences have already made the decision to do away with their intraconference transfer rules, such as the Big 12 and the ACC.
It will be interesting to see how this ends up shaking out. Kirby Smart has made it clear in the past he isn’t a fan of players transferring within the conference, and this would figure to hurt a program like Georgia more often than it would help.
We did see one potential intraconference transfer reverse his decision, as LSU tight end Arik Gilbert was originally going to transfer to Florida before backing off that decision in March. Tennessee linebacker Henry To’oto’o is another name to watch here, as he had been linked heavily with Alabama after entering the transfer portal. But if the SEC does not change its rule, it could possibly push the talented linebacker to a school like Ohio State instead.
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