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NCAA cracks down on hardship waivers for transfer players

Nov 2, 2012, 8:56 PM EDT

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The NCAA has moved to solve what has become a hot issue in college basketball, setting new guidelines and placing restrictions on transfer players seeking a hardship waiver.

Critics have pointed out flaws in the NCAA’s current system for securing a waiver based on health problems of a family member, spurring reform.

Under new regulations, the transfer’s new school must be within a 100-mile radius of the affected immediate family member’s home. This puts a fixed number in place where there had not been one before.

In addition, the player must provide medical documentation that the family member’s illness is “debilitating and requires ongoing medical care” and the player must be involved in “regular, ongoing caregiving responsibilities.”

“It is important to understand the guidelines are for staff’s initial review,” subcommittee chair Robert Philippi said. “There are occasions in which the welfare of the student-athlete takes precedence or other unique circumstances are presented, and those cases should be appealed to the subcommittee.”

According to analysis by ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan in July, the NCAA has granted half of the undergraduate transfer waiver requests in college basketball made between April 2007 and April 2012.

Though a breakdown of how many of those requests are based on the health of a family member are not available, these new regulations would likely lessen that percentage.

There have been a number of recent cases of a hardship waiver for impact Division-I players, including Villanova’s Tony Chennault and Iona’s Lamont “Momo” Jones. There have also been denials, including Seton Hall’s Sterling Gibbs.

How much will this new legislation curb the overall transfer numbers? Time will tell.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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