NCAA reform eases rules on athlete transfers

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Sherman: Redshirt rule is 'game changer' for college football (1:10)

Mitch Sherman believes the redshirt rule that allows players to play up to four games and still receive a redshirt is a positive for the sport. (1:10)

The Division I Council officially approved a new rule on Wednesday that will eliminate the permission-to-contact process when a student-athlete transfers programs. Previously, college coaches were able to block the transferring athlete from certain schools, and the athlete was required to obtain permission for schools to contact him.

That process will no longer exist come October, when a student-athlete will now have the ability to transfer without asking for permission. The new process allows the athlete to notify his current school of his desire to transfer and will then require the school to enter the student's name into a database within two business days of the request.

Upon being entered into the database, college coaches will be allowed to contact the athlete freely and without permission.

The previous rule was scrutinized as transferring players were limited in what schools they were able to choose from after being blocked from specific programs. When defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson decided to transfer from Auburn after the 2016 season, Jackson said that Auburn would block him from transferring to another SEC school, Ohio State, Clemson or Georgia.

Jackson eventually transferred to Blinn College, going the junior college route, and then signed for the 2018 season with Ohio State, where he will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Once October hits, athletes won't come across that same problem and will be able to choose from any school that wants to recruit them after they're entered into the database. The NCAA release does say, however, that conferences can still make rules within this process that are more restrictive than the national rule.

The Division I Council also approved a measure that will allow athletes to compete in up to four games without losing a season of competition. The proposal was initially tabled in April over concerns about timing, the number of games and potential application to other sports, according to a release by the NCAA.

Student-athletes have five years to complete four seasons of competition, so the new rule will allow an athlete to use a redshirt, if it hasn't been previously used, in up to four games of competition during the season.

"This change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being. 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," council chair Blake James said. "Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition."