NCAA agrees to drop transfer rule for Division I student athletes following civil lawsuit, Justice Department announces

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has agreed to drop a rule making it difficult for Division I college athletes to transfer schools and remain eligible to play following a civil lawsuit by the US Department of Justice and a coalition of states.

The Justice Department, District of Columbia and 10 states involved in the lawsuit announced the proposed agreement with the NCAA on Thursday.

The agreement would end the civil suit against the organization over their transfer eligibility rule, which required student athletes who transferred more than once to sit on the bench for an entire season before being allowed to compete at their new school.

Prosecutors said the rule forced college athletes to either stay in schools they wanted to leave or to transfer and miss out on athletic opportunities. The complaint also alleged the rule “was anticompetitive because it deterred college athletes from challenging anticompetitive rules in court,” a news release from the Justice Department said.

If approved by a judge, the deal would bar the NCAA from enforcing the transfer rule or adopting any similar rules between Division I colleges and universities in the future, the release said.

It would also require the NCAA to issue an additional year of eligibility to certain qualifying college athletes who were previously deemed ineligible to play for any length of time because of the transfer rule.

“Free from anticompetitive rules that unfairly limit their mobility, Division I college athletes will now be able to choose the institutions that best meet their academic, personal and professional development needs,” Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter said in the release. “This resolution is a testament to the benefits of federal and state enforcers working together to ensure free markets and fair competition for all Americans.”

The NCAA’s Division II also had a similar rule but revised it to remove the year requirement for transfers, according to the release.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at