SEC grants immediate eligibility to players who transfer within the conference

The Southeastern Conference voted on Thursday to allow players who transfer within the conference to have immediate eligibility.

Previously, intraconference transfers were required to sit out a year of competition.

"This is an important measure to further support student-athletes throughout the Southeastern Conference," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. "While maintaining the expectation that coaches and others avoid improper recruiting, this change will ensure that student-athletes who enroll at an SEC member institution will enjoy the flexibility afforded to other student-athletes across the nation."

The announcement comes on the heels of other conferences, such as the ACC and Pac-12, doing away with similar intraconference transfer policies.

The NCAA voted in April to allow all players to transfer once in their career without having to sit out a year.

The decision by the SEC clears the way for several high-profile transfers to make an impact immediately next season, including Alabama linebacker Henry To'o To'o, who transferred from Tennessee, and Georgia tight end Arik Gilbert, who transferred from LSU.

Unlike the May 1 deadline outlined by the NCAA, the SEC will require transfers to declare their intent to change schools by Feb. 1 for fall sports.

The deadline will be May 1 for winter sports and July 1 for spring sports. "The SEC has established a deadline for declaring an intention to transfer in Fall sports as February 1 in order to create time windows that are more consistent across Fall, Winter and Spring sports," Sankey said.