Photo by Mike Schumann / The Daily Hoosier

How the May 1 transfer portal deadline factors into IU basketball’s roster situation

With the signing of class of 2022 forward Malik Reneau earlier this week, Indiana is officially at the maximum of 13 players on scholarship as of this writing.

There are still moving parts to sort out, including Trayce Jackson-Davis’ decision to stay in or exit the NBA Draft.

IU also had two transfer portal prospects in Bloomington on official visits this week — Wichita State’s Dexter Dennis, and West Virginia’s Sean McNeil.  In the unlikely hypothetical that both of those players committed to IU, and Jackson-Davis chose to return, the Hoosiers would be oversigned by two players going into the summer.  There are also of course multiple scenarios where Indiana could end up oversigned by just one player.

To state the obvious, if Indiana ends up over the scholarship limit, cuts will need to be made to get back to the limit of 13 prior to the fall semester.

But the May 1 transfer portal deadline might cause some players to take action sooner than later.  That’s because if a player doesn’t enter the portal by the May 1 deadline, they won’t be eligible for the 2022-23 season.  The deadline only relates to entering the portal, so a player doesn’t have to find a new home by May 1.  And of course players can enter the portal and then choose to return to their current school.

For all of those reasons, players who see an oversigned situation on the horizon might consider entering the portal before May 1, at least as a protective measure.  That way they don’t have to sit out a season and lose a year of eligibility, while leaving open the option to return.

The deadline was enacted when the NCAA passed the one-time transfer rule, but it was pushed out to July 1 last year — so this is the first year you are hearing about May 1.

If a player misses the May 1 deadline, the loss of eligibility is not an absolute, but they would be left to the mercy of the NCAA, which grants waivers for immediate eligibility for a variety of reasons.  Some examples where waivers have been granted in the past are health issues, coaching changes, player mistreatment, and yes, a player being run-off from the program.

If Indiana were to pick up a commitment from Dennis and/or McNeil before May 1 and Jackson-Davis were to not decide until after that time, some players might be left wondering about their status on the team.

That’s why it wouldn’t be particularly surprising to see players on teams across the country with similar sets of facts decide to go portaling this week, at least as a protective measure.

In a perfect world, none of this would happen unilaterally.  Instead, conversations will take place, and mutually beneficial decisions will be reached.  But the various moving parts and unknowns certainly create a challenge.

Note:  The May 1 deadline applies to all fall and winter sports.  With football programs coming out of spring practice and depth charts gaining clarity, it wouldn’t be surprising to see another late round of comings and goings.  Already this week defensive back Maurice Freeman left IU and ended up at Liberty.

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