Revamped NCAA waiver policy helps transfers play right away

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Sports

January 24, 2019 - 10:12 AM

Georgia quarterback Justin Fields (1) runs for a touchdown against Massachusetts in the second quarter on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga. Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

Last year, a high-profile overhaul of NCAA transfer rules stopped short of creating free agency in college sports.

A much quieter change, however, helped quarterback Shea Patterson play for Michigan and will determine whether Justin Fields is eligible this fall at Ohio State. The modification to the waiver process can be seen as something of a compromise that has cleared the way for more athletes to switch schools and play right away.

“The membership wanted to put immediate eligibility back on the table,” said Dave Schnase, the NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs. “And so whether that resulted in a high approval rate, I don’t think membership knew. They just wanted to put that back on the table. And then the circumstances of each individual case would essentially dictate the approval rate.”

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