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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The NCAA Division I Council voted Wednesday to grant all athletes the ability to transfer once and be immediately eligible, AP reports.

Why it matters: This will fundamentally alter the landscape of major college football and basketball, two sports where the transfer rate is already skyrocketing.

  • It will also transform recruiting, as teams build out college scouting departments in addition to their high school recruiting operations.
  • Some even suggest a "sign-and-place" system could develop where teams without roster spots "place" recruits at smaller schools to later add them as transfers.

Of note: Most NCAA sports already allow transfers to play immediately. Now, the five remaining sports — football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and men's hockey — will join them.

By the numbers: Nearly 4,000 football and basketball players (men and women) are currently in the transfer portal. This new rule will open the floodgates even further.

  • Football: Of 12,000 FBS football players, 14.7% transferred in 2019, per the NCAA.
  • Basketball: The four-year transfer rate in men's hoops has risen from 10% in 2010 to 16% last year. In women's hoops, the rate was 12% last year.

The big picture: Transfers have been part of the fabric of college sports for years. Look no further than Baylor, which got 54% of its points from transfers en route to winning this year's national championship.

  • Yes, but: As transferring becomes frictionless and even more common, college sports could start to look like professional sports, where rosters are assembled year-to-year and the offseason is full of player movement.
  • "It's not [about] developing players anymore," Todd Berry, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, told SI. "It's about assimilating a team for next year that can win."

What's next: The new rule is expected to be approved by the NCAA Board of Directors this month and could take effect immediately.

Go deeper: Rule change prompts game of musical chairs (NYT)

Go deeper

Apr 14, 2021 - Sports

NFL effectively mandates COVID vaccinations for coaches, other staff

A man prepares to receive a COVID-19 vaccination at Levi's Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers football team, in Santa Clara, California, in February. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The NFL outlined in a memo sent to all 32 teams that support staff, including coaches and trainers, should be vaccinated against COVID-19 "unless they have a bona fide medical or religious ground for not doing so."

Why it matters: Anyone who doesn't fit this category and refuses vaccination will be ineligible for Tier 1 or 2 status and "will not be permitted access to the 'football only' restricted area and may not work directly or in close proximity with players," according to the memo, first reported by the NFL Network.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
19 mins ago - Science

A new NASA astronaut corps for the next era in space

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NASA's next crewed missions to the Moon will need a larger, differently-trained and multi-skilled astronaut corps to deliver on the agency's ambitions.

Why it matters: NASA has plans to fly astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2025 and ultimately establish a long-term presence there. That goal requires a robust corps with new, specialized training in what it takes to live and work on the Moon — and NASA needs to start planning now.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.