The NCAA added another layer of chaos to the fallout of Wednesday’s federal ruling on transfer rules, saying Thursday that student-athletes who participate in games during the 14-day temporary restraining order will lose a season of eligibility if the ruling is reversed.
The NCAA published an eight-question document designed to help its membership in understanding issues stemming from Wednesday’s decision. The fourth question asked whether the season of competition legislation applies to an athlete competing during the 14-day TRO.
“Yes,” the document states. “The 14-day TRO only enjoined Bylaw 22.214.171.124 and does not change the season of competition legislation.”
The new guidance walks back a report Wednesday that cited an NCAA spokesperson saying athletes will not lose a year of eligibility if the ruling is overturned.
A hearing on the restraining order is scheduled for Dec. 27.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Preston Bailey in West Virginia issued a temporary restraining order against the NCAA, allowing two-time transfers to play immediately. The NCAA allows underclassmen to transfer once without sitting out a year, but a second transfer as an underclassman requires a waiver to play immediately. The NCAA has granted waivers to certain athletes on a case-by-case basis.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by West Virginia and six other states alleging that the NCAA’s waiver process violated federal antitrust law.
Following Bailey’s order, the NCAA released a statement: “As a result of today’s decision impacting Division I student-athletes, the Association will not enforce the year in residency requirement for multi-time transfers and will begin notifying member schools.”
Those who had their waivers denied or were awaiting decisions were therefore able to suit up Wednesday night.
UNLV‘s Keylan Boone, who started his career at Oklahoma State before transferring to Pacific for a year and then to UNLV, made an immediate impact in his debut for the Runnin’ Rebels. Boone came off the bench to score 10 points and grab six rebounds in a 79-64 upset win over No. 8 Creighton.
However, the majority of programs kept their newly eligible players on the bench out of precaution. LSU star guard Jalen Cook, who transferred from Tulane after starting his career in Baton Rouge, was held out of the Tigers’ win over Alabama State. UTSA and McNeese held out multiple players who could have been back on the court, while Little Rock‘s Makhel Mitchell and Southern Miss‘ Andre Curbelo also didn’t suit up.