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New NCAA rule prevents schools from blocking transfers

Detroit News staff and wires
Colleges will no longer be able to block athletes from having contact with certain schools.

The NCAA has adopted a new rule that gives a Division I athlete the ability to pursue a transfer to a different school without receiving permission from his or her current school.

The new rule will take effect Oct. 15.

The NCAA is calling this the “notification-of-transfer” model. Once an athlete notifies his current school of his desire to transfer, the school is required to enter the athlete’s name in a national transfer database within two business days. Once that occurs, other coaches are free to contact the athlete.

Colleges will no longer be able to block athletes from having contact with certain schools.

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“The (NCAA Division 1 Council) membership showed that it supports this significant change in transfer rules,” Justin Sell, chair of the Division I Transfer Working Group and athletics director at South Dakota State, said in a press release. “I’m proud of the effort the Transfer Working Group put forth to make this happen for student-athletes, coaches and schools.”

Under the current NCAA rule, athletes are required to get permission from their current schools before contacting other schools. That rule was intended to discourage coaches from contacting athletes at other colleges.

The NCAA Division I Council also decided that football players will be allowed to play in up to four games in a season without losing a year of eligibility if they can no longer play because of injuries “or other factors.”

Standoffs between athletes and coaches over transfers have often led to embarrassing results for schools standing in the way of players who want to leave. Last spring at Kansas State, reserve receiver Corey Sutton said he was blocked him from transferring to 35 schools by coach Bill Snyder before the school finally relented amid public pressure.

Even with the new rule, conferences could still restrict athletes from transferring within the league.

The NCAA has made several attempts in recent years to change transfer rules, but this is the first to come up with something substantive – if not comprehensive.

Much of the talk about transfers focuses on the so-called year-in-residence, the one year a player in the most high-profile sports such as football and basketball must sit out after switching schools.

The NCAA said legislation that governs when a Power Five school can reduce or cancel financial aid for an athlete may be looked at next week. Currently, a student’s notification of intent to transfer at the end of a term is not a listed reason a school can use to cancel aid.