SEC changes graduate transfer rules to allow Malik Zaire to Florida

The Southeastern Conference loosened its graduate transfer rules Friday that will allow Notre Dame Malik Zaire to transfer and play at Florida this year.

The SEC’s leaders voted to change the APR rules for out-of-conference transfers to lower the probation from three years to one year. Previously, the rules prevented league schools from signing graduate transfers for three years if one did not earn all possible APR points. The SEC’s rules were considerably more restrictive than other Power 5 conferences. 

“We are not making decisions based on an individual,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said, “we are making decisions on what is an informed policy for the entirety of the conference.” 

Florida head coach Jim McElwain, who stands to gain the most in the short term, said in a statement, “Our phone has been ringing off the hook this afternoon. There is a lot of interest in the Gators.” 

Zaire hasn’t made his final decision but reportedly was waiting to see what the SEC did before making his pick. After the rule change was announced, Zaire seemed to be appreciative. 

Before the rule change, Florida was unable to add a graduate transfer because two of its previous transfers — Anthony Harrell and Mason Halter — did not meet all their academic requirements as graduate students. 

The SEC tabled a vote on Georgia’s intraconference transfer proposal that would have allowed players to transfer within the conference without the need for a waiver. 

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