SEC considers easing grad transfers rules, could help Zaire

Notre Dame graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire and Florida are reported to have mutual interest. The Associated Press/file

DESTIN — Former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire could have another potential landing spot by the end of the week.

The Southeastern Conference is expected to ease graduate transfer rules during its annual spring meetings, clearing the way for Zaire to potentially end up at Florida.

Several coaches and Commissioner Greg Sankey said Tuesday they expect the SEC will tweak its policy, which penalizes teams if graduate transfers fail to meet academic standards during their time on campus. No other Power Five conference has a similarly restrictive clause.

“I don’t think we should penalize ourselves as a league and allow people to transfer other places, but they can’t transfer to our league,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “So if there’s some balance we can come up with on that, that’s what I would be for.”

Added South Carolina coach Will Muschamp: “I think we need to have the same rule as everybody else in college football. … It is a little bit unfair for us as a league to have a different set of rules than the competition at other places.”

The Gators are currently unable to add Zaire because two previous graduate transfers — linebacker Anthony Harrell and offensive lineman Mason Halter — failed to meet academic requirements after transferring to Florida in 2016. That put coach Jim McElwain’s program on probation, unable to add another graduate transfer for a three-year period.

The SEC is proposing to change the rule to a one-year ban, which still would be more than other Power Five conferences.
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