NCAA announces transfer, redshirt rule changes

Tanya Simon
June 14, 2018

Student-athletes have five years to complete four seasons of competition, so the new rule will allow an athlete to use a redshirt, if it hasn't been previously used, in up to four games of competition during the season.

"The change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being", said Miami (Florida) athletic director Blake James, who doubles as the chair of the Division I council.

"This creates a safe place for student-athletes to have a conversation with their coaches and makes the whole process more transparent", former Coastal Carolina football player Nicholas Clark said in a release. "Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition".

As of now, this rule does not apply to sports other than college football, but the Division I Student-Athlete Experience Committee is examining "how a similar concept could be applied to other sports, including what number of games would be appropriate", according to the NCAA's release.

It will begin this fall, with the 2018 season, wiping away the need for schools to petition the NCAA for a medical redshirt if a player had already played in a game.

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The previous transfer rule, which required student-athletes to get permission from their current school to contact another school before they can receive a scholarship after transfer, was meant to discourage coaches from recruiting student-athletes from other Division I schools.

Standoffs between athletes and coaches over transfers have often led to embarrassing results for schools standing in the way of players who want to leave.

The NCAA announced two major rules changes to the college athletics landscape Wednesday. At that point, coaches from other schools are free to contact the student.

Previously a player would lose his redshirt status after taking the field for a single play. But now, a player could hypothetically play the entire month of September, sit out the rest of the season and play the following season without a lost year of eligibility. Conferences, however, can still put rules in play that forbid student-athletes from transferring within the conference without sitting out a year or some other stipulation. A proposal was originally presented to the D-I Council in April, but tabled to allow conferences to provide feedback from spring meetings.

If another school tampers with student-athlete, it could be a Level 2 violation.

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