NCAA eases up on Division I football redshirt restrictions

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As expected, the NCAA's Division I Council adopted a new rule Wednesday that will change the way transfers take place.

A new transfer rule, which goes into effect October 15, removes the previous requirement that athletes must seek permission from their current schools before letting other schools know they'd like to transfer. 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.

The new rule was passed with players that are struck down by early-season injuries in mind, but will also allow players that are used sparingly to prolong their college careers, creating more opportunity for athletes to contribute on the field of competition.

Beyond this change, the Transfer Working Group is considering other transfer issues, including the processes surrounding postgraduate transfers.

The new redshirt rule will begin this season.

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Transfer candidates previously needed permission to contact other programs.

"The membership showed today that it supports this significant change in transfer rules", said Justin Sell, chair of the Division I Transfer Working Group and athletics director at South Dakota State, per the NCAA. While those discussions continue, that rule has yet to be changed.

If a student enrolls midyear and plays in a postseason football game before or during their first term, the new rule does not apply. The NCAA release does say, however, that conferences can still make rules within this process that are more restrictive than the national rule. "This will clean the process up and give more influence and flexibility to the student-athlete".

Berry was extremely optimistic about the proposal's chances following the AFCA Convention in January, was less positive in March and cautious in April, when the proposal was tabled over questions about timing, the number of games and potential application to other sports. Within two days, the school must enter the athlete's name into a national transfer database.

"I think this new rule will be a great opportunity for a student-athlete and their overall college experience", Mendenhall said in a statement provided by a spokesman. The significance of the rule is a player can appear in those limited number of games at any point in the season. "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.

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