NCAA passes reform that allows athletes to transfer without permission

Aubrey Yates
June 14, 2018

The second, football players can participate in as many as four games without it counting toward the four seasons allowed in five years, effective immediately for the 2018-19 season.

The new rule will have the greatest impact on true freshmen as they get acclimated later in the season, players recovering from offseason injuries that might otherwise miss a whole year and players who were going to redshirt but would've lost a year of eligibility late in the season due to a lack of depth and injuries at their position.

Beginning in October, Division I student-athletes will have the ability to transfer to a different school and receive a scholarship without asking their current school for permission. "It's a win for the student-athlete, and our coaches are tremendously excited about this opportunity". That rule was meant to stop DI coaches from recruiting athletes from other DI schools. The rule changes prevents coaches and administrators from preventing athletes to contact certain schools.

While conferences can still vote to create more restrictive legislation - such as preventing in-conference moves - this ruling should decrease the number of instances in which schools block players from transferring. This new system allows a student to inform his or her current school of a desire to transfer, then requires that school to enter the student's name into a national transfer database within two business days.

"The membership showed today that it supports this significant change in transfer rules", said Justin Sell, chair of the Division I Transfer Working Group and athletics director at South Dakota State, per the NCAA.

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The transfer working group initially was looking at uniform rules across all sports. Currently, a student's notification of intent to transfer at the end of a term is not one of the listed reasons a school can use to cancel aid. The change will come with stricter tampering rules to help appease coaches who worry illegal recruiting could rise.

To address one specific concern, the Council specified that midyear enrollees can not use the exception to play a bowl game before their first academic term. "This will clean the process up and give more influence and flexibility to the student-athlete".

"Redshirt football student-athletes are more likely to remain engaged with the team, and starters will be less likely to feel pressured to play through the injuries".

However, this could also be a way for coaches to get talented young players on the field while still preserving that fifth year of eligibility, allowing redshirt players to get game experience against "cupcake" teams or potentially play a factor in bowl games.

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