The NCAA announced on Wednesday a change to its redshirt rules, which will now allow a player to participate in up to four games without without losing his redshirt. The Division I Board of Directors developed a series of principles to guide the Transfer Working group, which included that any rule changes should "support the academic success of student-athletes", and "be based on data and create the least restrictive environment possible for student-athletes". It applies to both the FBS and FCS beginning this season.
Much of the talk about transfers focuses on the so-called year-in-residence, the one year a player in the most high-profile sports such as football and basketball must sit out after switching schools.
Previously a player would lose his redshirt status after taking the field for a single play.
"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.
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.
While it's unclear where most of the Class of 2018 stands in regard to early playing time, it stands to reason that down the stretch of this fall - as has been the case in the past - there will be players who can benefit from the four-game redshirt rule.
Currently, Division I student-athletes have five years to play four seasons.
James Crepea is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group.
With the rule change, schools can't prevent specific programs from contacting a transferring student-athlete. 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. A proposal was originally presented to the D-I Council in April, but tabled to allow conferences to provide feedback from spring meetings.
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. More often than not, it limited players from speaking to other schools in the same conference or on future schedules.