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NCAA Council Approves Changes to Redshirt and Transfer Rules

June 13, 2018

On Wednesday, the NCAA approved a pair of rules changes that will undoubtedly have an impact on the game moving forward: the transfer rule and the redshirt rule.

First announced were updated transfer rules that go into effect on Oct. 15 and will eliminate schools blocking transfers to specific programs from the equation. 

In the new system, students are only required to inform their current school of their decision to transfer and their school will have two business days to enter their names into a national transfer database. Once the player’s name is in, other coaches will be able to start calling. Essentially, student-athletes are no longer required to wait for permission to start contacting other schools. 

But, according to a release from the NCAA, individual conferences can still make rules that are “more restrictive” than the national rule.

The second rule passage — one that has experienced tremendous support since being proposed — allows players to participate in upwards of four games before losing the ability to redshirt.

“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,” Division I Council chair Blake James said in a release. “Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition.”

Had the rule been in place a season ago, a player like Husker running back Tre Bryant would have been able to redshirt and retain that year of eligibility after missing 10 of the team's 12 games with an injury.

The only exception to the rule is for midyear enrollees who may not participate in a bowl game. Outside of that, the change opens up a plethora of strategical moves that coaches could make moving forward.

Say, for example, Nebraska enrollee Cameron Jurgens isn’t ready to begin the season, but gets himself ready to participate late in the year; the Huskers could get him snaps late without losing a year of eligibility. There is no language in the change stipulating when the four-game period can occur. It’s simply four games. 

That also potentially means a freshman could play in three nonconference games and then only once more at any point in the season without losing a year. 

The NCAA will also have a committee look at ways the new rule can be applied to other sports and how many games will be appropriate. The FBS and FCS both adopted the rule change, which will take effect for the 2018-19 football season.

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