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SEC policy prevents schools from taking transfers with domestic violence, sexual assault history

The SEC's presidents and chancellors adopted a proposal by Georgia that would prevent conference schools from accepting transfer students with histories of domestic violence or sexual assault.

Some around the league doubted that the presidents would be able to agree to a league-wide policy, but SEC executive associate commissioner Greg Sankey said "the sentiment was very clear" that the league should address what has been a hot-button issue in sports.

"[There was] not a lot of variance at the end of the conversation," Sankey said. "I actually think the league came together on this issue. There were healthy conversations."

As adopted, the proposal states that "a transfer student-athlete who has been subject to official university of athletics department disciplinary action at any time during enrollment at any previous collegiate institution (excluding limited discipline applied by a sports team or temporary disciplinary action during an investigation) due to serious misconduct (as defined herein) shall not be eligible for athletically-related financial aid, practice or competition at an SEC member institution."

This legislation would have prevented Alabama's controversial acceptance of defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor, who still faces domestic violence charges stemming from a 2014 arrest while he played at Georgia. Taylor was arrested for a second time on such charges earlier this year after enrolling at Alabama, although those charges might be dropped because his accuser was arrested for recanting her assault claim.

Should charges be dropped or should a player receive a not guilty verdict that could clear an athlete, Sankey said the commissioner could consider approving a transfer via waiver.

"If there was other information to bear at some point, that would obviously be considered," he said.

Sankey was not aware of another college conference having adopted such a transfer ban but said he was not concerned with any competitive disadvantage that it might create.

"I think it's a reflection of the conference feeling this is the right step for the Southeastern Conference," he said, adding, "I don't worry about that. I think that's a leadership opportunity."