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NC attorney general sues NCAA over transfer eligibility rule

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is suing the NCAA over its transfer eligibility rule.

The rule requires student athletes who transfer between Division I schools to wait a year before competing. The NCAA can make exceptions and waive the rule, however.

Stein announced the antitrust lawsuit on Thursday, saying the NCAA’s rule “artificially deters players and teams from achieving optimal matches by forcing college athletes to weigh the one-year ineligibility period against the benefits of moving to a better matched school.”

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Stein publicly criticized the transfer rule earlier this year in the case of University of North Carolina wide receiver Devontez “Tez” Walker. The NCAA initially said that Walker was ineligible to play this football season, but later reversed the decision after widespread backlash from the public, from UNC officials, and even North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

Stein said Thursday that the transfer eligibility rule doesn’t make sense for student athletes who have good academic standings.

“College sports are changing rapidly, but one thing remains the same: protecting student athletes has to be the top priority,” Stein said in a statement Thursday. “This rule has been applied inconsistently and hampers college athletes from freely making decisions about where they go to school. The NCAA has long claimed that the transfer rule is necessary to give students time to acclimate, but that justification doesn’t make sense for student-athletes who are in good academic standing. Coaches come and go as is best for their careers and families – students should enjoy that same freedom.”

Attorneys general from six other states filed the lawsuit along with Stein. They’re asking the court for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction so that the NCAA can’t enforce the transfer rule.

(WATCH PREVIOUS: Tez Walker takes field in first UNC football game since ruled eligible to play)