NCAA Walk-on Transfer Rules for Division I Sports

Some of you may be aware that athletes transferring to an NCAA Division I program from another four-year college are required to attend the Division I university for one year as a full-time student before they are eligible for competition, unless they meet one of the permissible exceptions in the NCAA Manual.  The most commonly used exception is the One-Time Transfer Exception.

In the Division I sports of baseball, basketball, and football (as well as men’s ice hockey), the One-Time Transfer Exception isn’t available to athletes who were on an athletic scholarship or were recruited to their previous four-year college.  Transfers in those sports can be immediately eligible to practice with the team, but can’t play for one year.

However, there is another exception (an exception to the exception??) that allows an athlete in one of those sports to be immediately eligible upon transfer to another Division I program.

A walk-on (non-scholarship athlete) may use the One-Time Transfer Exception as long as the school he/she is leaving did not recruit him/her to their college.

The NCAA uses four criteria to determine if an athlete is a “recruited athlete.”  To view the four criteria, click NCAA rules – Definition of a Recruited Athlete.

If you have a question about this article, call Rick Allen at 913-766-1235 or send an email to

About Rick Allen

25+ years NCAA Rules Expertise, including Director of Compliance at 2 major DI schools

Former President of National Association for Athletic Compliance (NAAC)

Conducts compliance reviews and audits at NCAA Schools throughout the U.S.

Consulted with NAIA schools transitioning to NCAA membership status

Dad of a DI & DII student-athlete

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