Florida is now free to add a grad transfer this year, this after the SEC made a decision to change its grad transfer rule, which reduced the penalty from three years to one if the school does not meet certain academic requirements.
That would mean that Florida's penalty for the failures of graduate transfers Mason Halter and Anthony Harrell to make academic progress in the fall of 2015, originally set to extend into or through the 2018-19 academic year, is now over. The Gators had been unable to add Zaire because two previous graduate transfers failed to meet academic requirements after transferring to Florida in 2016. Today's change reduced that probation from three years to one for schools in situations like Florida.
Despite the lack of depth in Austin, Zaire will likely settle on Florida because there is an easier path to the starting job, as Buechele now appears all but officially entrenched as the starter, while the Gators struggled at the position last season before the young quarterbacks looked average in the spring game.
Appearing in eight games last season, Zaire attempted 23 passes for 122 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
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Zaire had delayed his decision for months waiting for this very SEC decision. "Enough time has passed it seems wise to step back and put ourselves in line with what everybody else is doing".
And, Sankey said, no other league has a similar policy. Alabama coach Nick Saban was strongly opposed to the legislation.
A related piece of graduate transfer legislation that was ratified is that a student-athlete who arrived to an SEC program via a previous transfer will not be allowed for an intraconference transfer waiver.
"That's based on the knowledge that there's opportunity for institutions to request waivers now under our current approach", Sankey said. "There's a lot that remains to be done".