is the transfer portal good for the student-athlete?

In October of 2018 the NCAA made a drastic change to the transfer rules in D1 sports. Three years later,  the NCAA approved regulations that allowed student-athletes to transfer once without penalty provided the student athlete is in good academic standing and has not had a transfer situation prior to the new transfer initiative. Before the new rule, transfer student-athletes were subject to having to sit out a year.

While it’s too early to tell what will come of it, it is without question that the transfer changes has began to cause 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 compliance officer or approved administrator 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. Next, As a result of the request, once the student-athlete has been entered into the database all colleges will be able to see his or her name and contact info. It is only after the student-athlete is entered into the transfer portal that the student-athlete can begin receiving communication regarding transfer opportunities.

Traditionally, student-athlete transfers had to sit out a year before being able to compete. Now, however, for immediate participation to happen, an approved NCAA waiver stating the student-athlete meets the transfer criteria is all that is required.

Clearly, this rule favors D1 student athletes. The reason for the new transfer rules is because previously 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 colleges.

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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