Student-athletes no longer need permission from schools to transfer

Ross Houston
June 14, 2018

As expected, the NCAA's Division I Council adopted a new rule Wednesday that will change the way transfers take place.

Players have five years to compete in four seasons of eligibility, and the old rules often cost a player a year of eligibility after playing just a short amount of the season due to injury.

Usually, a coach will play a true freshman or transfer immediately if it justifies not burning their redshirt. "Redshirt football student-athletes are more likely to remain engaged with the team, and starters will be less likely to feel pressure to play through injuries", said council chair Blake James, athletic director at the Miami (Fla.).

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.

The NCAA's Transfer Working Group proposed the change in fall 2017 in an attempt to separate a student-athlete's interest in transferring to a new school from the process of receiving a scholarship at the new school.

Nicholas Clark, a former Coastal Carolina football player and member of the Division I transfer group, offered up these comments on the new rule.

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

Much of the talk about transfers focuses on the so-called year-in-residence, the one year a player in the most high-profile sports such as football and basketball must sit out after switching schools. The new rule was developed based on a series of principles the Division I Board of Directors developed for the working group, including any rule changes should support the academic success of student-athletes, be based on data and create the least restrictive environment possible for student-athletes. Historically, players who wish to transfer have been blocked from going to any school that's on a future schedule. If he played in one more game, he would not have been eligible for a medical redshirt.

In recent seasons, Stoops also has lamented having to play guys who probably needed an extra year of development to reach their full potential, specifically mentioning players like defensive back Marcus McWilson and wide receiver Charles Walker. Once the name has been entered into the database, other schools can reach out.

"Even if some senior players decide it's not in their best interest to play in a bowl game, what a wonderful thing it would be to play some of the freshman in that bowl game and not lose their redshirt year".

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