Changes to the transfer rules are coming to college sports.
The NCAA Division I Board of Directors announced Wednesday that it has instituted three “notification-of-transfer” windows for college athletes — one each for fall, winter and spring sports.
For fall sports, including college football, a 45-day window begins the day after the College Football Playoff field is announced. There is also a window from May 1-15, coinciding with spring practice. For players who participate in the CFP or FCS title games, “reasonable accommodations” will be made, the board said.
Athletes who wish to transfer must notify their schools in writing during these timeframes, but transfer commitments don't need to happen during these timeframes.
For basketball players and other winter sport athletes, there will be a 60-day window beginning the day after championship selections are made in their respective sports. Spring sport athletes have two windows — one between Dec. 1-15 and a 45-day window that begins the day after championship selections are made in their sports.
According to the DI Board, exceptions will be made for athletes who experience head coach changes or “have athletic aid reduced, canceled or not renewed.” Athletes who transfer will also now be guaranteed financial aid at their new school through graduation, the board said.
From the NCAA:
NCAA rules now will require any school that considers athletics when awarding scholarships to transfer student-athletes to provide that scholarship for the rest of a student's five-year eligibility or until they complete the requirements for their bachelor's degree, unless the student transfers again or engages in professional athletics opportunities.
All of these changes are effective immediately.
“The decision to adopt the transfer proposal today reflects the Board’s commitment to enacting transformational changes in college sports,” University of Georgia president and board chair Jere Morehead said in a statement.
A controversial proposal that would allow athletes to transfer multiple times and be immediately eligible at each stop as long as they met “progress-toward-degree requirements at their new school” was not enacted by the board. That legislation was met with widespread opposition around college athletics.
College football coaches endorsed transfer windows
In the spring, the American Football Coaches Association proposed transfer windows — one in the fall and another in spring. The exact time frames ended up differing slightly, but the proposals have now come to fruition.
With the windows, roster construction should be a bit easier from a logistical standpoint. Players can pursue other opportunities after the regular season and after spring practice. Players would know where they stand on the depth chart and can make the decision on the best path forward, albeit in a much more restricted time span. Coaches would then know which positions they needed to address both in high school recruiting and via the transfer market.
Before the transfer portal formally went into effect on Oct. 15, 2018, college athletes needed permission from their school to seek a transfer. In those times, a school could also place restrictions on the other schools the athlete could communicate with — if it granted the player permission to contact other schools at all.
More often than not, athletes were limited from speaking to schools in the same conference or on future schedules. In the months that followed the implementation of the portal, most conferences loosened restrictions on transferring within the league.
With the implementation of the portal, the athlete now simply informs the school of his or her decision to transfer, removing the upper hand that schools long held over athletes hoping to change schools.
Later, the NCAA approved the one-time transfer rule, which allows immediate eligibility for first-time transfers moving to a new school. Previously, transfers who hadn’t already graduated needed to sit out a year before suiting up for their new team.