When we look back down the road, June 13 could be one of the bigger dates in the history of college football when you get into the weeds of byzantine NCAA rules.
In a news release posted Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA confirmed a slate of hugely significant rules changes to how players transfers and the highly debated ‘redshirt rule’ that would allow players an easier path to maintaining an extra season of eligibility.
Perhaps the bigger overarching rule that was adopted by the NCAA Division I Council earlier in the week was a new “notification-of-transfer” model. This essentially takes the school’s power out of the decisions of where a player can and can’t go by allowing a player to simply inform the program of a desire to transfer. In turn, the player’s name will be added to a national “transfer database” which allows coaches from other programs to contact that player without restrictions.
“The membership showed today that it supports this significant change in transfer rules,” said Justin Sell in a release, the chair of the Division I Transfer Working Group and South Dakota State AD. “I’m proud of the effort the Transfer Working Group put forth to make this happen for student-athletes, coaches and schools.”
This proposal has been working its way through the process for nearly a year and goes into effect on Oct. 15. There’s still more work left to be done as there are a handful of other proposals on the table for Power Five conferences to vote on in the coming weeks that affect things like scholarships and financial aid.
Also big? A so-called ‘redshirt rule’ that would allow players to play in any four games during a season and still maintain a full season eligibility (they would still have five years to play four seasons).
“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 AD Blake James said. “Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition.”
This will be effective for the upcoming 2018 season and allows players to play in, say, the first two games of the year and then the regular season finale and bowl game and yet still be counted as a redshirt for eligibility purposes. As you can guess, coaches have been pushing for this for a while now and this is a pretty big victory for them and for players, who will all be able to see action on the field as freshman and not have it take a year away from them.
Sadly, the rule is not retroactive to players who may have taken a few snaps here or there in the past few years.
It will be interesting to see how all these changes play out down the road but the bottom line is it was a big, big day for players across the country with these rules proposals getting passed.