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The NCAA finally brings clarity to eligibility waivers

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There might actually be some semblance of logic.

BYU v Kansas State Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

So, finally, the era of the NCAA granting waivers for immediate eligibility left and right may be coming to an end.

The council is scheduled to meet Wednesday in Indianapolis to review the updated guidelines and directives, which in many cases appear to specify and narrow the circumstances in which athletes should be given waivers and raise the documentation requirements to obtain them. Compliance staffs at Division I schools were made aware of the proposals last week.

While advocates for free movement of student-athletes — code for “players should be able to transfer whenever they want and not have to sit out a year” — will of course decry this, the reality is that the spate of waivers was essentially becoming an end-run around the rule book. Get beat out for the starting job at Georgia? Welcome to Ohio State, Justin Fields! Justin Fields just transferred in to take the starting job you were set to win? Welcome to Miami, Tathan Martell!

Basically, this new directive is the NCAA telling its member schools that if they want to do away with the requirement that players have to sit out a year, they have to go through the proper channels — meaning, change the rule itself. The stumbling block there has always been mid-major programs who live in fear of bigger schools raiding their rosters, a problem that’s already rampant and that the NCAA essentially doesn’t do anything to combat.

In that vein, one significant change here is that players who are told that they would not be welcomed back at their current school — for non disciplinary reasons, anyway — will be immediately eligible provided they can document that they weren’t welcome back. That seems like a good change.

In any case, though, the silliness of transfer waivers appears to be over.