A review of the Blake Barnett Transfer Situation

Many of you, especially if you are fans of college football, have probably heard about the transfer plans of Blake Barnett, a former quarterback for the University of Alabama.

Barnett made the headlines of sports websites around the country last week when he decided to withdraw from Alabama in the middle of the semester, and the middle of Alabama’s undefeated (so far) football season, to transfer to another university.

A better opportunity for more playing time is obviously a reason that many athletes transfer.

However, it’s unusual for an athlete to leave their team in the middle of the season, and even more unusual for an athlete to withdraw from their university in the middle of a semester. 

Many fans are asking how this will allow Barnett to be eligible at another university for the 2017 football season, when most Division I football transfers have to sit out from competition during their first season at a new university?

Barnett is planning to do a 4-2-4 transfer by enrolling in a junior college, earning his associates degree, and meeting the other academic requirements to be eligible upon his return to another Division I university. 

To make this work, he’ll likely need to earn additional credit hours this Fall by taking short 8-week courses at a JUCO, or by completing some online courses to counter the zero credit hours that he’ll have on his Alabama transcript for this Fall due to his mid-term withdrawal.

The NCAA Division I 4-2-4 transfer rule allows him to be eligible (as long as he meets all of the necessary academic requirements) at the next Division I university one calendar year from his official withdrawal from the previous four-year institution. 

However, there are other academic rules that Barnett will have to satisfy which I have not seen mentioned in any of the online articles that I’ve reviewed so far.

Will this turn out to be a successful transfer for him? 

There are obviously a number of factors that will play into that.  If he successfully meets all of the requirements to utilize this transfer rule, he can become eligible at another Division I university for the 5th game of the 2017 season (depending upon the official date of his withdrawal from Alabama).

  • How will other NCAA Division I coaches feel about bringing in a player who won’t be eligible for the first four games of the season? 
  • Also, how will other quarterbacks on the team at his new university feel if they know they only have their position for the first four games of the season? 
  • Will his transfer cause quarterbacks to transfer from his new university? 
  • Lastly, might this cause the NCAA Division I football coaches to advocate a tweaking of the rule to prevent other players from following Barnett’s lead?

If you have questions about the transfer rules and how you can use them to your benefit, contact us for a private consultation by calling 913-766-1235.   

About Rick Allen

25+ years NCAA Rules Expertise, including Director of Compliance at 2 major DI schools

Former President of National Association for Athletic Compliance (NAAC)

Conducts compliance reviews and audits at NCAA Schools throughout the U.S.

Consulted with NAIA schools transitioning to NCAA membership status

Dad of a DI & DII student-athlete

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