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The NCAA loosens transfer and redshirt rules

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In a move that totally makes sense and should have been enacted long ago, the NCAA actually did something right:

Transfers may now leave without asking their current school for permission. Under this new “notification-of-transfer” model, student-athletes will have their names entered into a national database, and coaches from other programs can then reach out to gauge interest.

In other words, the power now rests in the right hands: with the student-athlete, not the program which previously had the option of placing stringent and unfair limits on which schools the transfer could consider.

The Division I Council did warn that conferences can still place limitations “that are more restrictive than the national rule.” That’s unfortunate. The new rule should be universal – meaning every league should allow transfers without any limitations. But it’s a start.

On top of unrestricted transfers, the NCAA also changed up the redshirt rule, which will probably be more interesting to track how it changes the way NCAA football coaches use freshmen.

The same four-in-five timeline exists, only with a catch: Players can now participate in up to four games in a season and still retain that year of eligibility, a change that promotes “fairness for college athletes,” said Miami (Fla.) athletics director Blake James, chair of the Division I Council.

Here’s an example. A true freshman steps on campus. In previous years, he might spend his first year doing all the work – practice, film study, conditioning – without the payoff; the year will be spent holding a dummy for juniors and seniors and biding his time. Now, this true freshman will be able to see time in four games while still earning that redshirt season. On paper, it’s a win for everyone.

This is all good really. No player should be restricted to where they can transfer and no school should be able to tell a player leaving they can’t go or where they can’t go should they leave.

I understand the want and need to restrict a transfer, but it’s always been a bad look. Missouri has done it in the past and I semi-defended their decision to do it only because it was very standard practice.

But the four games and you can still redshirt rule will be very interesting to track. Will elite freshmen talent get run out in a surprise attack for big games or will this be used how it’s intended where you can see more of a freshmen in game action before deciding if they’re ready or not?

I think ultimately this rule is something which will help Missouri, where they can put younger guys in higher leverages positions early before deciding if they’re going to redshirt or not. Imagine you’re facing your FCS opponent or a group of five team you’re likely to beat, why not see how that young freshmen Safety looks in coverage and find out if his being on the field increases your defensive ceiling or not?

We’ll find out!

Yesterday at Rock M

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