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Transfer Rules: Basic Guidelines

Behind the Blue Disk

Why does the NCAA regulate transfer situations?
Transfer rules safeguard the process and help student-athletes make rational decisions about the best place to earn an education and compete in their sport. Student-athletes who transfer are less likely to earn a degree than those who remain at their original school. The NCAA works to protect student-athletes who have chosen a school from ongoing recruiting attempts and third-party interference.

What must a student-athlete consider before deciding to transfer?
A student-athlete who wants to transfer must first be accepted through the new school’s admission process. The new school may or may not be able to match financial aid offered by the student-athlete’s original school. Student-athletes who transfer must sit out of competition for one year, although many student-athletes qualify for waivers allowing them to begin competing immediately.

Why can’t student-athletes compete immediately after transferring?
Requiring student-athletes to sit out of competition for a year after transferring encourages them to make decisions motivated by academics as well as athletics. Most student-athletes who are not eligible to compete immediately benefit from a year to adjust to their new school and focus on their classes. Student-athletes who must sit out for a year at their new school may receive financial aid and practice with their new team.

Who is affected when a student-athlete decides to transfer?
Changing schools has an academic effect on the student-athlete who transfers. The team a student-athlete leaves behind also is impacted. Its level of competitiveness may change and the remaining student-athletes lose a friend and teammate. Student-athletes are recruited by a coach who is building a team to work together; when one student-athlete leaves, it may affect the entire team’s chemistry.

Can a student-athlete contact other schools about playing opportunities?
Student-athletes must get permission from their current school to contact a new school. The new school cannot contact the student-athlete until the current school agrees to the contact. If the current school does not agree, the student-athlete may appeal. By requiring schools to get permission to contact a student-athlete, the NCAA protects student-athletes from a disruptive interference.

Can a coach limit the schools to which a student-athlete can transfer?
Coaches may limit the schools a student-athlete can contact. However, the NCAA requires schools to provide a student-athlete with a hearing if the student-athlete’s request to contact a new school is denied. The hearing must be led by school employees who are independent of the athletics department.

 

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Transfer Guide