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Definition: Like all college students, college basketball players have the option of transferring from one school to another. But because the NCAA is involved, transferring is far more complicated than simply making sure credits will be accepted at the new school. If you're a college athlete considering a transfer, I strongly recommend taking a look at the official NCAA transfer guide (Adobe PDF document). For fans, here's a quick summary:

  • Players wishing to transfer to a new college must inform their coaches before speaking to potential teams.
  • In most cases, a transfer player must attend classes and maintain good academic standing at the new school for a full year before he's eligible to play. In other words, a player transferring at the end of the 2007-08 school year won't be eligible to play until the start of 2009-10.
  • Transfer students are still held to the "four in five" rule, which states that they must complete their four years' eligibility in five total seasons.
  • Individual conferences may have additional restrictions governing transfers. For example, the Big East does not allow any intra-conference transfers in men's or women's basketball or football.


Though rare, there are cases where the one-year waiting period has been waived. The most common reason for a waiver is a family hardship -- a player might transfer to a school closer to home to help care for a sick relative, for example.

Junior college transfers -- commonly referred to as jucos or juco transfers do not need to wait the year to play, so long as they graduate from their two-year programs and meet NCAA academic requirements.

The NCAA had a rule which allowed student-athletes transitioning from undergraduate programs to graduate programs to play without waiting a year, but that rule has since been eliminated.

Guard Jeremiah Rivers will sit out the 2008-09 season after transferring from Georgetown to Indiana.
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