Josh Kendall

Incoming Gamecock Nick Harvey, other SEC grad transfers have more freedom now

Nick Harvey, who played against the Gamecocks the last few seasons, will join the South Carolina football team this summer as a graduate transfer from Texas A&M.
Nick Harvey, who played against the Gamecocks the last few seasons, will join the South Carolina football team this summer as a graduate transfer from Texas A&M.

The SEC on Friday voted that graduate transfers who want to move from one conference school to another will no longer have to sit out a season.

“I think there are a lot of mixed emotions about it,” South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner said before the final vote was taken. “I tend not to have a major problem with it, but I’m not a football coach.”

Gamecocks football coach Will Muschamp didn’t have an issue with it either, and South Carolina voted for the change in Friday’s business meeting. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey declined to say which schools voted which way and how the final tally came out.

“The first amendment is alive and well,” he said about the debate around the issue.

The rule removes a possible hurdle for safety Nick Harvey, who plans to enroll at South Carolina after using the graduate transfer rule to leave Texas A&M. Most schools in this situation in the past asked for and received a waiver from the rule. Friday's vote removes the step of needing a waiver.

An NCAA rule still allows coaches to place restrictions on which schools a player may transfer to, but the NCAA is expected to take the right from coaches soon as part of larger restructuring of transfer rules.

In other news:

  • The SEC will now bar prospective student-athletes who have been convicted of or plead guilty or no contest to a felony involving serious misconduct. “It’s the message for families, for prospective student-athletes, for those engaged in the lives of these young people to avoid these pitfalls,” Sankey said. “It’s a very, very clear message.”

  • USC president Harris Pastides will begin a two-year term as president of the SEC. “I look forward to us benefitting from his leadership the next two years,” Sankey said.
  • The league plans to have metal detectors at the entrances of major competition sites by 2020, and many schools may have them sooner, Sankey said.

  • The SEC will try to extend its contract to host the men’s basketball tournament in Nashville, Tenn.

  • The league voted to rescind its intraconference transfer restriction from players leaving a team that has an NCAA or SEC postseason ban. The ruling clears the way for former Ole Miss wide receiver Van Jefferson to play at Florida right away.

  • The SEC will donate $100,000 to the Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research, and the school's football coaches said they would also donate individually, Sankey said.
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