NCAA Transfer Portal Changes
There are some big changes in 2023. The NCAA announced new rules on January 11, 2023. They will take effect as we advance into the next academic year. Here’s an outline of what they are and why they were passed.
NCAA Transfer Portal Changes (Effective next academic year)
X-actly what happened: no longer can a player transfer multiple times and immediately have eligibility. Your first transfer as an underclassman you have immediate eligibility. There are a couple of exceptions that still allow immediate eligibility on the second transfer.
First, “A demonstrated physical injury or illness or mental health condition that necessitated the student’s transfer”. The second is Exigent circumstances that necessitate a student-athlete’s immediate departure from the previous school (e.g., physical assault or abuse, sexual assault). The Council agreed “that athletics reasons (lack of playing time, position presence) and academic preferences should not warrant waiver relief. ”
Other exceptions were not changed. Previously rules held that the departure of a coach allowed thirty days for a player to transfer, and a student that had graduated could transfer if they had remaining eligibility.
NCAA Transfer Portal Changes (History and Motives)
Second, why this change, and why now? Until 2018 potential transfers had to inform their coaching/athletic staff. After the NCAA granted one-time immediate eligibility to all transfers (2020) year, more than 2,000 athletes jumped to a different program. Many smaller programs, like teams in the AAC, have been decimated by transfers this past year.
NCAA Transfer Portal Changes (numbers increase year-by-year)
The momentum of this wave of transfers is explained well by an informational recruiting site, (h/t NCSA College Recruiting) . It states “After you initiate the transfer process, your current scholarship should remain intact. Your scholarship for the following academic term, however, is not guaranteed. If you end up rescinding the transfer and decide to stay at your current school, your scholarship could be in jeopardy.”
Why is that important? Well, the NCAA passed new rules to “protect” the transferring athlete, to keep him out of transfer portal purgatory. (A very excellent article you can reference for historical purposes here). This problem was addressed when new rules were passed on August 31, 2022. “NCAA rules now will require any school that considers athletics when awarding scholarships to transfer student-athletes to provide that scholarship for the rest of a student’s five-year eligibility or until they complete the requirements for their bachelor’s degree, unless the student transfers again or engages in professional athletics opportunities. “
So yes that says what you think; ” if you transfer the “offering school” that’s “awarding scholarships” to transfers must provide that scholarship for the whole five-year eligibility. That statement doesn’t consider injury or playing time, and no exceptions are listed. IT IS A NEW INCENTIVE. If you should wonder why even non-starters or role players explore that option, read it again, it was a hidden but large incentive in the rule that featured the “transfer window” but this part is just as important, or even more.
But conversely, another obstacle to transferring was removed when the “portal window” was announced by the NCAA on August 31, 2022. (Same rule as above). Its limits to transfer time (45 days after the national championship game) also had the effect of showing potential transfers exactly who they’re being compared to on the transfer portal.
Coaches know who’s declaring for the draft, and who’s leaving the program (post-season interviews) and transfers follow the news media as well. The student-athlete can discover through online rankings and local/national media which athletes are moving, and which coaches are looking for a fresh infusion of talent, and sometimes even position by position.
NCAA Transfer Portal Changes (Going forward)
Third, zipping back to the present: explaining what this means. The January 11, 2023 rules mirror what the transfer portal is pre-Covid. The rules for the 2023 academic year in football will more closely resemble 2018 than 2022. There’s a very good article (h/t Fox Carolina) on how the Transfer Portal has changed college football. It probably has irritated boosters, coaches, and yes, even some players. This latest ruling is the NCAA’s attempt to change it back.
(You can read an article about the effect on my hometown team here, or follow me @ajayxemem on Twitter).