Skip to content

Immediate eligibility for transfers under consideration by the NCAA


We’ve often decried the fact that, while coaches can leave a football program for another with very few ($$$) repercussions in the vast majority of cases, most players who decide to transfer must sit out a season.

Based on discussions currently being undertaken by the NCAA, that may change in the not-too-distant future.

According to Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News, allowing immediate eligibility for transfers in all sports is one of the concepts being discussed by an NCAA working group charged with reviewing ways to streamline current bylaws.  The move would be part of the NCAA’s initiative to shrink its rulebook “down to something sensible.”

Currently, football players have to satisfy what’s technically called a “residency requirement” that by and large requires the student-athlete to sit out one season when transferring to one school to another.  If the measure were to be adopted, and provided the move would not have a negative on the player’s graduation progress, the player would be eligible to play immediately.

Currently, only players who have either graduated or are granted hardship waivers due to family issues are eligible to play immediately upon transfer.

This concept is far from becoming a reality, however; the working group noted that current transfer limits could be included in any new bylaw.  It’s safe assume that coaches, who are largely as a group already bucking against the trend toward multi-year scholarships, would not be in favor of allowing it to become easier for a player to leave his program, especially if one-year renewable scholarships go the way of leather helmets and goalposts on the goal line.

If eliminating the residency requirement is in play, one stipulation needs to be in play as well: a player can transfer once and play immediately.  Anything beyond the initial transfer — with the exception perhaps of family issues and the need to get closer to home — the player should be required to sit out a year.

In addition to the transfer issue, the NCAA is looking to cut the fat off the bulky bylaws pertaining to recruiting.  The development in that arena that would most likely garner the most attention would be allowing coaches to address unsigned potential recruits.  Current bylaws state that schools are not permitted to specifically mention a player by name until a Letter of Intent is signed.

Banned so as not to give a school a perceived edge in landing a recruit, the News writes that “[t]he working group said technology and social media make such comments difficult to monitor and enforce, and it’s ‘arguable’ whether the publicity influences a recruit’s college decision.”  One idea being tossed around is a stipulation that would only allow coaches to comment publicly on a recruit only when he verbally commits to a program.

Other recruiting-related ideas under discussion include no annual certification on recruiting rules for coaching staffs; giving schools more freedom on what takes place during official visits while allowing earlier contact with potential recruits (June 15 following a player’s sophomore year in high school); and putting an end to the “Tiger Prowl” rule that restricts the number of off-campus recruiters for the perceived recruiting benefit.

Permalink 16 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, Top Posts
16 Responses to “Immediate eligibility for transfers under consideration by the NCAA”
  1. floridacock says: Feb 13, 2012 2:17 PM

    That is going to open a HUGE can of worms, but certainly will give the talking heads and bloggers something to talk about.

  2. woebegong says: Feb 13, 2012 2:18 PM

    Eliminate that year, and see how quickly a popular coach can build up a program. What is the world does it do to propose scholarships be four years but allow to players to transfer to another team without getting some sort of penalty. Leave that rule the way it was, and make exceptions for coaching changes and hardships mean something. If you change it, you will have kids following coaches to their new jobs, and invariably , you will have some players on the new team losing playing time, because the coach knows the kid transferring with him, and doesn’t have time to properly evaluate the folks, all ready on the team. If you take away school loyalty and allow these players to just find better situations, you might as well call the game, semi -pros and be done with it. Why bother to even give them anything to study? What moron in the NCAA rules committees come up with ideas for these changes?

  3. LogicalConsideration says: Feb 13, 2012 2:30 PM

    @Woebegong, you have some potentially valid points. However, the current system is a mess. So, I think we are probably better of at least trying something different.

    Also, you are looking at this proposal in the more or less “naked” stand-alone version that is in the article. I am sure that there will be some limitations on the rule. Two come to mind that I think would be fair to all concerned. One is tell existing players that, provided they will stay on track towards graduation, they can transfer immediately to any school OUTSIDE the current conference. Or, if you want to transfer to a school within the conference, sit out a year, but not lose a year of eligibility. Two, allow players to void their Letter of Intent if the head coach or the OC or DC leaves after they sign the LOI, BUT bar them from accepting a scholarship to said coach’s new school. Otherwise, you could end up with schools effectively bidding not just for the services of a head coach (or OC or DC), but bidding for who they might be able to bring with them.

  4. woebegong says: Feb 13, 2012 2:41 PM


    I am afraid I don’t see a lot of good coming out of changing that rule. There are a few coaches that will love it, unless they also implement the 4 year scholarship rule. It will almost be like letting people go to get under the salary cap for a few coaches I could name but will not, so this blog has a small chance to stay on the topic at hand.

  5. barnesaintnoble says: Feb 13, 2012 3:09 PM

    If the coach of a school leaves or is fired – all the players should be able to transfer without penalty, given that they would qualify at that school, credits transfer, etc.

  6. frug says: Feb 13, 2012 3:33 PM

    I’m with barnesaintnoble. They need to institute a rule that if your coach leaves or is fired prior to the expiration of his contract then players can leave without penalty. Alternately, require coaches who leave prior to the expiration of their contracts to wait a year.

  7. drexelvol says: Feb 13, 2012 4:59 PM

    I’m afraid what this could lead to is some players shopping for a championship ring jumping ship after their junior year at their current school.

    Why play your senior year at a school with zero chance at a championship when you can transfer to a school who’s going to be pre-season top 5 with a more than realistic chance in winning it all?

  8. woebegong says: Feb 13, 2012 5:06 PM

    Without some safe guards, the chances the rule could be abused by both players and some coaches, could be a real problem. Hopefully, the heads are thinking it through a little bit down in Birmingham, but they say they want to make the rule books, more practical and they are the ones that made up half of these stupid rules as it is. Who knows where this new set of proposed changes will lead.

  9. udub says: Feb 13, 2012 5:08 PM

    Coaches and players are different.

    There is one head coach

    There are 85 scholarship players + others

    You can’t fire a coach and hire another coach and have him sit out a year. Who coaches that year when the new coach is waiting to be the head coach?

    If this goes through it will open a huge can of unintended worms. I could totally see players chasing titles or playing time. A junior running back that wants to leave early for the NFL but delusionally thinks all he needs is playing time his junior year transfers to start and then bolts to the NFL. A Senior QB on a bad or mediocre team transferring just to play for a title and getting one last chance.

    It’s not like a coach going to a new school and possibly coaching there for the next 20 years if he is good. Players are different than coaches even if people want to lump them together and pretend they should have the same exact rules.

  10. seanb20124 says: Feb 13, 2012 5:54 PM

    Coaches butt kissing of players will now extend past the LOI day.

  11. imaduffer says: Feb 13, 2012 5:59 PM

    College football one step closer to looking like the NFL except there is no salary cap.

  12. rolltide510 says: Feb 13, 2012 6:20 PM

    No sitting out a year for transfer = all college players are free agents. One of the worst rule changes I’ve ever heard proposed.

  13. buckifan4life says: Feb 13, 2012 7:43 PM

    Do we REALLY have to say this???

    Okay,..I will too…


    These kids are drama attention seekers enough already, with the hats to choose from and twitter accounts of their recruitment etc. You’ll have “free agent” college player movement all over the place. Please just leave it alone…

  14. imaduffer says: Feb 13, 2012 8:12 PM

    Coach Miles, “damn, sure would have been nice to have picked up a QB before the NC game.”

  15. udub says: Feb 13, 2012 8:45 PM

    Beyond my original post I started thinking of other things that may happen…

    Say the QB of a top tier talent laden team gets hurt in spring ball…out for the year…do you know how many QBs, both starting for worse teams or backups for good teams would want to take that spot?? Same sort of scenario, but what happens when a starter ups a leaves early for the NFL…coaches would kill for someone great to transfer in and take that spot rather than go through a competition.

    You have to have some sort of ‘penalty’ like sitting out a year so the players stay somewhat student-athletes and not hired football guns.

    Do you know how crazy it would get with this rule with teams all over the country thinking they are one RB, one WR, or one LB away from having a complete team that year.

  16. woebegong says: Feb 13, 2012 8:52 PM

    Agree with you there my friend. The potential for abuse with this rule change is great in my opinion.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!