NCAA Rule Change Will Prohibit Schools from Blocking Student-Athlete Transfers

How the redshirt rule change will alter how college football teams use freshmen

The NCAA announced on Wednesday a new rule that will allow players to participate in up to, but no more than, four games while still being able to take a redshirt year. "Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition".

The Division I Board of Directors developed a series of principles to guide the Transfer Working group, which included that any rule changes should "support the academic success of student-athletes", and "be based on data and create the least restrictive environment possible for student-athletes". Because of the new rule, a player will be allowed to potentially play in four games in his redshirt season and complete seasons in four other seasons.

"What I like about the four games, and the model that I think we would use, is you play the first three games to see who can actually do it", Franklin said during spring practice. As of now, schools can not cut off an athlete's financial aid based on intent to transfer at the end of a term - but the NCAA will vote on two different proposals that would allow institutions to end aid after an athlete's intent to transfer has been made clear.

Previously a player would lose his redshirt status after taking the field for a single play.

Players wanting to transfer previously had to request permission from their school to be released from their scholarship before seeking other options.

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"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".

The idea behind the ruling is to allow players to keep a year of eligibility should they suffer a serious injury or "other factors" that limit them to a small number of games. Schools would often block permission to conference opponents, rivals or programs that recruited prospects out of high school, which would often force student-athletes to transfer down to junior college before landing at their school of choice.

However, under the new system, individual conferences can agree on their own transfer rules - like mandating time off of competion when an athlete transfers within his or her conference. A proposal was originally presented to the D-I Council in April, but tabled to allow conferences to provide feedback from spring meetings.

In an attempt to prevent schools from tampering with student-athletes already enrolled at another institution, the NCAA has made tampering a Level 2 violation.

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