Transfer news has dominated the NCAA basketball offseason headlines for the past few seasons. As the transfer market has grown in popularity as a way of roster building, it has thrust the NCAA’s waiver process into the national spotlight. This has also led to the constant discourse about whether or not certain players should be immediately eligible or need to sit out. The arguments seemingly never end about these cases and the NCAA’s waiver process contributes to the fighting.
Basically everyone who follows the transfer market with any regularity complains about the lack of transparency in the waiver results. There seems to be very little consistency when it comes to which players receive waivers and which ones do not. As a result, the entire process has been under fire recently, especially as waiver decisions rarely happen quickly. The waiting period only sows more distrust of the system.
Thankfully, many expect that the current waiver process will come to end after this season with the likely invocation of a one-time transfer rule to go into effect for 2021-22. Recent news indicates, however, that the end of the “waiver era” could be coming much sooner. Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported late Wednesday night that the basketball oversight committee is “expected to recommend that the NCAA allow all transfers to get waiver this season.”
Given that this season is not counting towards eligibility for winter athletes, this is a huge deal. Even players who previously planned on sitting out should now be able to use this “free year.” Most programs in the nation will not be directly impacted by this as they either did not add transfers or have already received waivers for their transfers.
There are a few, though, that stand to gain significantly by the NCAA granting eligibility to those who planned to sit out or had their waivers previously rejected. Without further ado, let’s dive into who some of those winners could be if this vote passes.
Xavier is the only 5-0 team in the nation at the time of this publishing. With that said, though, the Musketeers have shown plenty of signs of struggles while leaping out to this start. While they have dismantled Oakland (KenPom No. 311) and Tennessee Tech (No. 321), the victories have not come as easily against better competition. Their wins over Bradley (No. 117), Toledo (No. 114), and Eastern Kentucky (No. 181) came by a combined seven points with one going to overtime.
While this universal transfer waiver might not go into affect (if passed) until Xavier has played a couple more games, adding reinforcements to the rotation would certainly help the Musketeers build on their hot start. This is especially true considering Xavier’s remaining schedule features only high-major opponents. Ben Stanley — who previously had his waiver request denied — and Adam Kunkel are both former mid-major stars seeking immediate eligibility for this year.
Stanley averaged 22 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game for Hampton last season. While he could experience a dip in production while facing Big East opponents every night, Stanley would fit nicely alongside budding sophomore Zach Freemantle in the frontcourt. Kunkel was originally planning to sit out this season but could now add much-needed perimeter shooting to the rotation. The 6-3 guard averaged 16.5 points per game on 39.0 percent shooting (on 213 attempts) from three as a full-time starter for Belmont last season.