New NCAA rule changes expand redshirt rule, transfer rule

Photograph of a Wilson NCAA logo college football.
Photograph of a Wilson NCAA logo college football.

Beginning in the 2018 season, college football players competing in Division I programs will be allowed to transfer without permission from their University and play in up to four games during a season without losing a season of eligibility, the NCAA Division I Council ruled Wednesday at its meeting in Indianapolis, Ind.

The transfer rule, which will begin in October and will allow Division I football players to transfer to a different University and accept a scholarship without receiving permission from their current school, requires the University to enter the name of the student who desires to transfer into the national transfer database within two business days of the student giving notice. Coaches from other Universities will be able to contact the student intending to transfer when the student’s name is in the database.

The intent of the former transfer rule was to discourage Division I coaches from recruiting student-athletes from other Division I Universities.

The council said they hoped the change brought “transparency and opens conversation between students and coaches.”

The redshirt rule change, which will allows students to preserve a season of eligibility if subject to an unforeseen circumstance such as an injury, will take effect for the upcoming 2018 season.

“This change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being. 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,”  Miami (Fla.) athletic director and council chair Blake James said in a statement. “Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition.”

The NCAA expects the Division I Student-Athlete Experience Committee to study how a similar redshirt rule change could be implemented in other Division I sports.

The council specified that the redshirt rule change does not apply to players who participate in postseason play before or during their first term at their respective University.