Finding a new team would only be the first hurdle for Greg Paulus to play Division I football this fall.
The Duke senior would need to be granted a waiver by the NCAA to be eligible to play at Michigan, or any other Division I program besides Duke, according to the compliance offices at Duke and the ACC.
Paulus, who played basketball for Duke the past four seasons, visited Michigan on Tuesday. To play football for the quarterback-starved Wolverines, Paulus would essentially need the NCAA's permission.
Paulus, an All-American quarterback in high school, has one season of football eligibility under the NCAA's "five to play four" rule. Under the NCAA transfer rules, he would need two seasons of eligibility to transfer to a Division I — either Bowl Subdivision or Championship Subdivision — program and wouldn't be eligible until 2010.
Paulus, like any student-athlete, has the right to apply to the NCAA for waiver to be eligible for the 2009 season.
Getting the waive is hardly a formality. The NCAA has typically, but not uniformly, granted waivers based on medical hardships, natural disasters (think Hurricane Katrina and Tulane) and family emergencies (think Tennessee basketball player Tyler Smith, but not former UNC basketball player Alex Stepheson).
Paulus, who will graduate from Duke next month, could also apply for the waiver based on academic availability. For example, if School A offers a graduate-level course that School B doesn't, the NCAA has allowed transfers under those circumstances, according to Duke's Jamie Pootrakul, the school's assistant athletic director for compliance who has helped Paulus explore his transfer options.
Paulus' new school would have to apply to the NCAA for the waiver and it would be the NCAA's unilateral decision, not subject to the ACC or the new conference's academic guidelines.
UNC quarterback Cameron Sexton faced a similar transfer situation in January. Sexton chose to go to Catawba, a Division II program where he is immediately eligible without applying for a waiver.
The NCAA changed its transfer rules in the spring of 2007. Previously, football players were allowed the freedom to transfer from Division I-A to Division I-AA without sitting a year.
The NCAA has since folded both subdivisions under the Division I umbrella and requires football transfers to sit out a season when switching schools.
Only in rare cases has the NCAA allowed transfers from one Bowl Subdivision program to another without sitting out a year.
There was a short-lived rule in fall of 2006 that allowed student-athletes to graduate and transfer to another FBS school and be eligible immediately but that was overturned after the 2006 football season.