Starting in October, an athlete who wants to transfer just needs to notify his current school, which would then place him in a national database of available transfers.
The new exception allows football players to preserve a season of eligibility if injuries or other factors force them into the lineup sooner than planned.
The NCAA has made several attempts in recent years to change transfer rules, but this is the first to come up with something substantive - if not comprehensive. "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", NCAA Division I Council chairperson and Miam athletic director Blake James said in an NCAA statement.
The rule change, which will go into effect in the 2018 season, primarily is aimed at allowing coaches the ability to play freshmen in a limited number of games without burning a redshirt season.
Because of situations like that one and dozens of others through the years, Mark Stoops said he is in favor of the change announced by the Division I Council.
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More often than not, schools will redshirt freshman football players, giving them the opportunity to acclimate to the college way of life and playbook.
Previously, a player would be ineligible to redshirt if they played as little as one play in one game. Players still have five years to complete four seasons of eligibility, but now they won't have to be sidelined for an entire season.
According to the ACC's proposal: "The current rule often places coaches in a hard position to decide whether to play a student-athlete in a limited amount of competition or to preserve the student-athlete's season of eligibility". While the rule changes don't radically alter the status quo, it still provides an easier system for both student-athletes and schools.
The previous regulation required athletes to ask their current school for permission before contacting schools they were interesting in transferring to. This not only gives younger players on-field experience, but a chance to keep their eligibility.
Think you know all the NCAA transfer and redshirt rules?
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"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 Division I student-athlete advisory committee representative. The permission to contact previously was meant to keep coaches from raiding other schools for players. Instead, students will inform their current school of their desire to transfer.
But a change to that rule will now allow for some breathing room.
Though the NCAA has a long way to go with setting up the right environment for student-athletes, these two rule changes start to help that process.
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.
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