SEC tweaks graduate transfer rules, opening door for Zaire

SEC tweaks graduate transfer rules, opening door for Zaire

SEC tweaks graduate transfer rules, opening door for Zaire

Sankey told reporters in a press conference on Friday at the end of the SEC's annual spring meetings in Destin, Florida that the SEC has shortened the length of the prohibition on taking graduate transfers for a program that had graduate transfers fail to make academic progress from three years to one, effective immediately.

Florida was in limbo with Zaire because offensive lineman Mason Halter and linebacker Anthony Harrell did not meet the league's requirements after transferring in 2015.

The league amended it's graduate transfer policy, of which Florida was in violation of. The league initially passed a five-year ban for programs whose graduate transfers failed to meet academic expectations.

But now that ban is no longer in place, days after a report from Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports that Zaire was "leaning towards" playing for head coach Jim McElwain at Florida. This rule change that includes a one-year probationary period, according to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, is still unique to the NCAA. If Zaire chooses the Gators, he would have 10 weeks to learn Florida's offense, compete for the starting job and get ready for the season opener against MI on September 2 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Zaire played in 17 games during his Irish career, throwing for 816 yards and six touchdowns.

"It was early on in the grad transfer process and there were some high-profile situations that we were probably overreacting to and we kind of got out in front of everybody else", Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said.

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Zaire hasn't made his final decision but reportedly was waiting to see what the SEC did before making his pick.

"That's based on the knowledge that there's opportunity for institutions to request waivers now under our current approach", Sankey said. Georgia suggested the legislation after Alabama initially balked at letting defensive back Maurice Smith transfer to the Bulldogs in 2016.

Originally, SEC bylaw 14.1.15.3 (b) stated: "The student-athlete must earn all possible April points applicable for each term of enrollment". The SEC now does not allow alcohol sales at athletic events except in designated private areas.

And, Sankey said, no other league has a similar policy. There's a positive view of the concept.

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