NCAA eases up on Division I football redshirt restrictions

NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks during a news conference at the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday

NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks during a news conference at the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament Thursday

The NCAA Division I Council announced Wednesday that it will adopt a new proposal that allows student-athletes to transfer without getting the permission of their current institution.

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.

The new NCAA rule does not change the injury redshirt process. As of now, schools can not cut off an athlete's financial aid based on intent to transfer at the end of a term - but the NCAA will vote on two different proposals that would allow institutions to end aid after an athlete's intent to transfer has been made clear. 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. Now, a player simply has to tell his school he wishes to transfer and the school will have two business days to put their name into a national transfer database.

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Transfer candidates previously needed permission to contact other programs.

"The change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being", said Miami (Florida) athletic director Blake James, who doubles as the chair of the Division I council.

This is an interesting, and I think mostly good, change. The NCAA notes, however, that conferences can enact rules that are more restrictive than the national rule. "This will clean the process up and give more influence and flexibility to the student-athlete".

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Berry was extremely optimistic about the proposal's chances following the AFCA Convention in January, was less positive in March and cautious in April, when the proposal was tabled over questions about timing, the number of games and potential application to other sports.

Before, playing one snap of Division I football would have claimed a season of eligibility. "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", James said.

Under the old transfer model, student-athletes had to receive permission from their current schools to contact a different university before they were allowed to receive a scholarship offer.

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The new transfer rule goes into effect October 15.

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