College athletes looking to leave one college for another will no longer have to get consent from their coach, athletic department or anyone else.
The NCAA announced Wednesday that its Division I Council has passed legislation that enables student-athletes in all sports to transfer as they please without getting caught up in the red tape of obtaining official permission-to-contact or release documents. The rule will officially lock in starting Oct. 15.
This has. It's a win for players' rights.
Going forward, a "notification-of-transfer" model will be in use. Here's how it will play out, per the NCAA's statement: "This new system allows a student to inform his or her current school of a desire to transfer, then requires that school to enter the student's name into a national transfer database within two business days. Once the student-athlete's name is in the database, other coaches are free to contact that individual."
That is incredibly easy and efficient. The mode intends to streamline the process of the transient reality of modern college athletics. Whereas transfers were relatively uncommon in college sports 25 year ago, now a majority of DI men's basketball programs inherit or lose transfers annually. College athletes are changing schools -- just like a lot of non-athletes move from one university to another. (The NCAA has released data in recent years showing that regular students transfer at a higher rate that scholarship student-athletes.)
This level of transparency should cut down on the annual stories in college football and basketball that shed a negative light on coaches who have put restrictions on where their players can transfer.
But there is a catch: Conferences still have the freedom to enact transfer restrictions.
Specifically, coaches around the country still anticipate that some leagues will put up walls preventing a player to transfer in-conference. Those details remain to be seen, but such restrictions are common now and prevent athletes from moving within one conference.
The NCAA also notes that any tampering found by a coach prior to a player enrolling in the transfer database would amount to a Level 2 violation.
The rule came about because of the Transfer Working Group, which has been tinkering with a solution to the transfer culture in college athletics. The work is not done. There is still debate over whether players should have to sit a year when transferring as an undergraduate. Graduate transfers do not have to sit. It's created a free agency type of environment in major college athletics. Top programs in basketball and football have altered the way they recruit because of this rule.
Additionally, the NCAA now must consider the APR impact with this new legislation. The APR is an academic metric the NCAA uses as a way of keeping programs to a certain standard. Fall below that standard? You get penalized, including postseason bans. The APR is also tied to transfer credits and graduation rates, so concern exists in the coaching community over how the rule put into place Wednesday could have unintended consequences with how APR is determined.