Last week saw Ohio State receive some well-received news in Columbus when quarterback transfer Justin Fields was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA. Of course, Fields is hardly alone this year in receiving immediate eligibility from the NCAA, and there could still be more on the way. According to a report from 247 Sports, a total of 51 out of 64 players appealing for immediate eligibility form the NCAA have won their appeal.
The data for those figures may be adjusted quickly as more players hope to receive immediate eligibility from the NCAA after switching schools; the rules have been relaxed to be more player-friendly. Among those names include Miami quarterback Tate Martell and Texas wide receiver Bru McCoy. Martell transferred to Miami from Ohio State after Fields made his way from Georgia to Ohio State. His appeal for eligibility this fall would seemingly be more groundbreaking than the Fields situation considering the backstory for Fields leaving Georgia and Martell simply looking for a better chance to be the starter on the field. If Martell is given a chance to play this fall, it would be evidence that the system has definitely changed the game in college football. It would open the doors to as close to free agency as possible, a growing concern for many as more and more players seem to be transferring earlier and earlier in their college careers.
Take McCoy for another example. McCoy has yet to play a single down of college football but has already transferred from USC to Texas just in the last couple of months after committing to the Trojans in the most recent recruiting cycle. After USC lost offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury to a head coaching job in the NFL, McCoy decided he would look for another place to play football shortly after signing with USC in the early signing period. McCoy signed with Texas but technically falls under the category of a transferring player. It is expected by many McCoy will eventually be ruled eligible for the 2019 season given the circumstances.
The typical transfer rule still is in play with players having to sit out a season before being ruled eligible to play again, with the exception of graduate transfers getting immediate eligibility. Hardship waivers have long existed to allow for possible immediate eligibility for players, but the approval of waivers and appeals is beginning to be more frequent. That’s a good thing for players, and a growing headache for coaches.
With this trend continuing to grow, it won’t be long before the NCAA takes a look at what is going on to determine if any refinements to the rules need to be implemented.