Student-athletes no longer need permission from schools to transfer

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College football players will be allowed to participate in up to four games in a season while maintaining their redshirt status starting this fall, according to a rule passed by the NCAA Division I Council on Wednesday.

The idea behind the ruling is to allow players to keep a year of eligibility should they suffer a serious injury or "other factors" that limit them to a small number of games. Last season, this opportunity may have led to redshirts like quarterback Tommy DeVito and cornerback Ifeatu Meliufonwu seeing playing time as they prepared to step into larger roles.

The new rule could change how college coaches handle playing time for certain players, especially younger ones. Schools would often block permission to conference opponents, rivals or programs that recruited prospects out of high school, which would often force student-athletes to transfer down to junior college before landing at their school of choice. Instead, the NCAA is creating a database in which schools must input a transfer candidate's information within two business days of that player filing their transfer paperwork.

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"Conferences, however, still can make rules that are more restrictive than the national rule".

The Division I council adopted a proposal that prevent schools from blocking transfer requests from student-athletes.

"I really think that is a good dialogue to be having right now", Harbaugh said.

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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. "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", NCAA Division I Council chairperson and Miam athletic director Blake James said in an NCAA statement. Applications for the rule to be applied to other Division I sports is now being looked at by the council.

Mid-year enrollees will not be allowed to participate in bowl games but, other than that, there are no limitations on the four games redshirt players can participate in. 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.

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.

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