NCAA Rule Change Will Prohibit Schools from Blocking Student-Athlete Transfers

Lynette Rowe
June 14, 2018

The NCAA announced a significant change to its redshirt and transfer policies for football players on Wednesday.

A new transfer rule, which goes into effect October 15, removes the previous requirement that athletes must seek permission from their current schools before letting other schools know they'd like to transfer.

Schools have drawn criticism for preventing a student-athlete from transferring to a program that better suits them, either academically or in their chosen sport.

The NCAA is changing a rule that allows schools to block student-athletes from transferring to different programs. The NCAA's Transfer Working Group first proposed this rule change a year ago.

Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall has been an outspoken proponent of the NCAA changing its redshirt rules to allow younger players the chance to get some limited game experience without losing a full year of eligibility.

College athletes will no longer need permission from their coach or school to transfer and receive financial aid from another school. The new NCAA rule does not change the injury redshirt process.

The NCAA transfer working group, led by South Dakota State athletic director Justin Sell, has been working on reform since past year.

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But a change to that rule will now allow for some breathing room.

If a student enrolls midyear and plays in a postseason football game before or during their first term, the new rule does not apply.

"This change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being", Miami AD Blake James said in a statement to the NCAA on the redshirt rule change. "This will clean the process up and give more influence and flexibility to the student-athlete".

Previously, a player would be ineligible to redshirt if they played as little as one play in one game.

However, under the new system, individual conferences can agree on their own transfer rules - like mandating time off of competion when an athlete transfers within his or her conference. Applications for the rule to be applied to other Division I sports is now being looked at by the council. Now, a player simply has to tell his school he wishes to transfer and the school will have two business days to put their name into a national transfer database. The significance of the rule is a player can appear in those limited number of games at any point in the season.

"This creates a safe place for student-athletes to have a conversation with their coaches and makes the whole process more transparent", said Nicholas Clark, a recent Coastal Carolina graduate and the student representative to the council.

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