“To reduce the penalty of the 120-day rule on transferring athletes to ensure an athlete’s right to choose and fully participate in their ideal club environment.”
What is being changed? The 120-day unattachment penalty is placed on athletes who choose to transfer between teams. The AEC is proposing that this penalty be reduced to 30 days. Why does a change need to be made?
We have found that athletes often transfer clubs for reasons outside of their control. Some of these include: club folding, uncomfortable environments, military transfers, and parents making club choices.
Athletes are being penalized when they move clubs for a reason listed above. It should be an athlete’s right to choose and fully participate in their ideal club environment, without penalty.
Unattachment further alienates a swimmer trying to acclimatize to a new team environment, keeping them from scoring points for their team, as well as participating on team relays.
Why did we settle on 30 days?
At USA Swimming’s April Workshop, the AEC released a survey to all in-person members, requesting their feedback on how we should alter the rule.
An overwhelming majority (88/123 [72%]) of respondents selected the option of reducing the penalty to 30 days. These responses were evenly spread between athletes, coaches, officials, and other LSC leaders.
30 days is a feasible time period for registrars to process transfer, without having as much of a penalty on transferring athletes.
Exemptions are not a feasible option in amending this rule, as there is no established oversight for them.
Won’t this proposed rule change promote club hopping?
The 120-day rule was never designed as a way to prevent club hopping. Other pieces of legislation, such as 304.3.11, are specifically designed to target recruitment and club hopping.
Club hopping happens now, even with the 120-day rule in place. It is more so a negative for athletes who need to transfer out of their current environment, than it is for athletes who are just looking to club hop.
In short, an athlete should be able to decide the club environment in which they can feel safe, perform their best, and enjoy the sport, without fear of penalty.