Do the new NCAA Transfer Rules benefit the student-athlete?

In October of 2018 the NCAA made a drastic change to the transfer rules in D1 sports.  While still in their infancy, it is without question that these changes have caused quite a stir in college athletics. The goal of this article, therefore, is to briefly outline the changes while shining some light on the idea that the changes are to the benefit of the college student athlete. 

The new NCAA transfer rules and transfer portal have changed the ways student-athletes communicate the want to transfer.

At the heart of the DI rule changes is that student athletes no longer have to request permission to transfer. Instead, student athletes simply have to inform the university that they want the opportunity to talk with other colleges about the possibility of transfer. In response, the college the student athlete is currently attending will then add the name of the student-athletes to the NCAA transfer database. As a result of the request, once the student-athete has been entwined into the database all colleges will be able to see his or her name and contact info. 

Traditionally, student-athlete transfers have to sit out a year before being able to compete. Even with the new regulations that penalty has not changed and in most cases, remain binding. Currently, despite the conception of the more lenient transfer rules immediate eligibility is promised for transfers. For immediate participation to happen, an approved NCAA waiver is required. It is worth noting that recently in college football the NCAA has granted permission for immediate participation to some very high profile transfers. Is this an indicator of a kinder, gentler NCAA? That is yet to be revealed.

The rule clearly favors D1 student athletes. In contrast, NCAA Division II and NAIA athletes still need to request and receive permission from their current college to speak with coaches at other schools about a transfer. If, or when, when permission is granted, athletes at from colleges will have their name added to the same transfer portal. 

The reason for the new transfer rules is because previously in order for an athlete to transfer he or she a must ask a coach for permission to contact other schools. A school interested in recruiting a transferring player also must ask the current school for permission to recruit. So, without permission from the original school, the student-athlete is unable get financial aid from another school. Essentially, this allowed coaches to block permission to transfer while keeping players from playing at competing schools /certain schools.

Although, the new transfer rules are designed to prohibit those tactics athletes requesting transfer still inertia some risk. For example, once a Division I athlete informs their university of their plan to transfer, the university has the right to cancel the athlete’s sport scholarship at the end of the semester. It is also possible that the coach if he/she desires can immediately remove the athlete from their team. So does this rule really benefit the student athete? Or does the rule place them at risk? Again, its too early to tell. 


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