Student-athletes who transfer from a two-year to a four-year college are commonly referred to as a “2-4 transfer,” while those who transfer from one four-year college to another are referred to as a “4-4 transfer.”

In most of those 2-4 or 4-4 transfer situations, a student-athlete will have the chance to be eligible for competition in their first year at the new college as along as the academic requirements for a transfer to the NCAA or NAIA university have been satisfied.

However, when an athlete has transferred more than one time, the rules and academic requirements can be more difficult to navigate.

The more times that an athlete transfers from one college to another, the greater the odds are that the athlete won’t be eligible in their first year at the new college. In fact, many of these student-athletes are often given misleading information or don’t have a complete understanding of the transfer rules.

They often learn after arriving at their new university that they won’t be eligible to compete their first year.

I’ve spoken to several families of 4-4-4 transfers who find themselves in this situation.

Had they known the transfer rules and requirements for their specific situation in advance, they would have been prepared and possibly made better and more informed decisions as they navigated through their transfer process.

Of course, the best situation is if you and your athlete are prepared and knowledgeable about how to navigate successfully ahead of time.

However, if your athlete has recently transferred and learned they won’t be eligible this year, we can discuss their specific situation and advise about possible options available to them. Schedule a confidential Waivers & Appeal Consult online to learn what options are available at this point and how to move forward.

If your athlete is considering a transfer and wants to know what their options are before making the decision, we can help. Schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online and we’ll review and discuss best steps to take before proceeding with a transfer.

To learn more about these and other services we offer, call us at 913-766-1235 or send an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

Almost every year, we receive emails similar to the one below two or three weeks AFTER an athlete has started attending classes at their new college:

“I transferred to this new college but wasn’t informed until two weeks into this semester that I didn’t meet the academic requirements to be eligible this year. What options do I have now that I’ve already started attending classes?”

Assuming the university received this athlete’s transcript in a timely manner, someone should have reviewed and notified this athlete of her academic deficiency before the semester started.

Had they done so, this athlete would have had the option to go back to her previous junior college for one more semester to take the necessary courses for eligibility, or she could have considered other options.

Now her options are limited and more complicated:

  • By waiting until two weeks into the semester to inform the athlete of her status, she is stuck at that college and is now ineligible for this academic year. She must now work to earn her academic eligibility to be able to compete next year at this college.
  • Also, because most transferring athletes must be academically eligible when they leave their current school in order to be immediately eligible as a transfer to an NCAA member school, she either needs to stay at this school and work to earn her eligibility there, OR
  • If she chooses to transfer to another NCAA college before she regains eligibility where she is, she may be ineligible for her first academic year at the next college.
  • Another option is that she could possibly transfer to an NAIA college where it would be possible to regain eligibility after one semester.

How can an athlete AVOID this type of situation?

Make sure you are certified academically eligible by the school you are transferring to before classes begin.

In fact, I suggest that you request confirmation in writing prior to the start of classes that the athletic compliance office can confirm that you’re eligible to compete this year! This way, if something goes wrong and you’re later told that you aren’t eligible, you at least have documentation of what you were told that could possibly be beneficial in a waiver situation.

How frequently does this type of thing happen?

More frequently than you would think. These are the type of situations I hate because they could easily be prevented.

How can you prevent this from happening to your athlete?

For “2-4” transfers from a two-year college to a four-year college or “4-2-4” transfers (four-year college to two-year college to second four-year college), there are specific academic requirements that must be completed in order to be immediately eligible.

With a college transcript review, we will:

  • Inform you of the current NCAA transfer requirements,
  • Compare courses you’ve taken with the academic requirements for a transfer athlete,
  • Inform you of any specific subject requirements or limitations for your transfer situation, and
  • Review consequences and options for your situation based on completed courses, deadlines, and any rules that apply specifically to certain sports (such as mid-year transfers in Division I baseball or basketball)

If you have questions about the transfer and eligibility requirements, schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues Consult, or would like to discuss how a college transcript review can help your athlete, contact us by calling 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

The new NCAA Division I One-Time Transfer Exception which was approved in late April requires that four-year college athletes must enter the Transfer Portal no later than July 1 to have an opportunity to be immediately eligible upon enrollment at a Division I university this Fall.

Does that mean that it’s too late for an athlete to enter the Transfer Portal and be eligible if they transfer to an NCAA Division I university this Fall from their previous four-year college? Not necessarily.

There are other transfer “Exceptions” which will permit an athlete to be immediately eligible in their first year at a Division I university.

  • The one most widely available to the largest number of four-year college athletes is the Non-Scholarship Transfer Exception. This Exception can be used by student-athletes who have not received an athletic scholarship at their previous university. (For athletes who have been at a university that doesn’t award athletic scholarships, the athlete must not have been “recruited” to the previous university.)
  • Other transfer Exceptions for four-year college athletes are for specific situations that don’t occur that often, such as when an athlete’s previous institution dropped the athlete’s sport or discontinued their academic major.

If you want to learn whether it’s still possible for your athlete to transfer for this upcoming year, you can purchase and schedule a confidential Transfer Consultation online. Or you can arrange a consultation session by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling our office at 913-766-1235.

We always appreciate receiving good news from our clients, and this email this past week from the parent of a softball transfer is an example:

“Hi Rick,

Just wanted to let you know that my daughter’s team played in the NAIA Softball World Series National Championships recently in Columbus GA. We battled through the loser’s bracket to come back and win the national title – #1 in the Nation. It was an amazing experience and an amazing way for my daughter to end her college career.

Thanks so much for the help you gave us in getting her into such a great place. Your calm in our storm of transfer was truly a blessing for our family. Wishing you the best in your mission to help players.”

Read what other clients have to say about Informed Athlete®

NCAA Division I recently approved a change to the “One-Time Transfer Rule.” This change now allows an athlete to transfer to an NCAA Division I program with the opportunity to be eligible in their first year at the new university – even if the athlete was a scholarship athlete in baseball, basketball, football or men’s ice hockey at their previous university.

A consequence of this new rule which has not been well-publicized is that a potential second transfer to a 3rd Division I university will become much more difficult for the 2022-23 academic year or thereafter.

The One-Time Transfer Rule is – as the name implies – available for an athlete to use one time when they transfer to an NCAA university.

However, when an athlete transfers the second time, the options for transfer a second time with immediate eligibility have been limited.

Waivers for a second transfer are currently a possibility in certain situations including personal or family financial hardship, the injury/illness of a family member, mental health concerns, or no participation opportunity if the athlete had stayed at their previous school.

New Transfer Waiver guidelines for scholarship athletes who will be transferring a second time to Division I for the 2022-23 academic year will go into effect on January 1, 2022.

Under these new guidelines, the ONLY reasons that will be accepted by the NCAA for an athlete to be immediately eligible are:

  • A student-athlete is facing a “real and imminent health and safety” threat, or;
  • A student-athlete with an education-impacting disability is leaving a school because support services and/or treatment are inadequate or unavailable.

Do You Have Questions?

If you have questions about the Transfer Rules and how these new guidelines could impact your athlete’s future, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult online, send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235.

We’ve recently been contacted by some athletes who have been told by their NCAA Division I head coach that their scholarship won’t be renewed for next year.

Others have told us that their coach is telling them that they should transfer and that “we’ll help you with your transfer to another school.”

We encourage athletes and families to consider their possible options and not react too quickly to such news. Reacting too quickly without knowing your options may place you in an even worse position.

For example: If a Division I coach is telling your athlete that they aren’t renewing their scholarship for next year, what they might NOT be saying is that the athlete has the right to appeal that decision to the campus Financial Aid Appeal Committee.

However, if the athlete enters the Transfer Portal before the hearing takes place, the athlete may be forfeiting their right to request an appeal hearing. That’s because the university has the right to terminate the scholarship of an athlete who enters the Transfer Portal at the end of the semester in which the athlete enters the Portal.

Do You Need Help?

If you would like to discuss the rights and options that an athlete can consider when their scholarship is being threatened, schedule a Scholarship Strategies consult online. Or you can send an email to rick@informedathlete.com or call 913-766-1235 to schedule a session.

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors recently ratified and made official the new One-Time Transfer Rule.

As a result, any four-year college athlete – even a full scholarship athlete in the sports of baseball, basketball, football or men’s ice hockey – will have the opportunity to be eligible in their first year as a transfer to an NCAA Division I university without the need to serve a “year in residence” before they can compete for their new team.

The new rule takes effect immediately. This means that an athlete transferring this summer to a Division I university will be able to be eligible as soon as next Fall as long as they meet the required conditions.

Those conditions are:

  • Transfer from any four-year college to an NCAA Division I university.
  • Must be academically eligible at the school the athlete is leaving. (In addition, the NEW school must certify that Progress Toward Degree requirements are satisfied.)
  • Athlete has not transferred previously from a four-year university.
  • Athlete and new head coach must certify in writing that there was no direct or indirect communication between the athlete and the athletic staff at the new university before entering the Transfer Portal.
  • Any athlete planning to use this new rule to transfer to a Division I university for next year must submit their name for the Transfer Portal by July 1.

NOTE for any athletes who transferred to a Division I university in the middle of this current 2020-21 academic year:

If you were required at the time of your midyear transfer to serve a “year in residence” at your new university, you may also be able to use this new rule to become eligible next Fall.

Do you Have Questions?

If you need advice regarding how this rule impacts your student-athlete, schedule a confidential Transfer consultation online, by calling 913-766-1235 or sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com.

The Atlantic Coast Conference recently announced that they are eliminating the league’s intra-conference transfer rule.

This means that while the standard NCAA DI transfer rules still apply to athletes who transfer to a Division I university, ACC athletes who transfer to another ACC school are no longer bound by additional conference restrictions.

Those Conference restrictions previously mandated that student-athletes who transferred from one ACC school to another must serve a year in residence at the new university. The “year in residence” rule applied to student-athletes who were on an athletic scholarship at the first university as well as student-athletes who were recruited to the first university even if they weren’t on an athletic scholarship.

Why This Decision Is Important for All of Division I

The above action obviously has a direct impact only on student-athletes who transfer within the ACC.

However, I believe this decision has a more wide-ranging impact and sets the stage for all student-athletes to have immediate eligibility one time upon transfer to a Division I program from another four-year university (as long as they satisfy academic requirements).

My belief is based on the statement issued by ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips regarding the action taken by the ACC Board of Directors:

“The time has come for all student-athletes to have the opportunity to transfer and be permitted to compete immediately. This decision is in the best interest of our student-athletes as it allows greater flexibility during their collegiate career.”

Commissioner Phillips is an influential voice as the leader of one of the Power Five conferences. He also has served as a past chairperson of the NCAA Division I Council and the first athletic director to serve on the NCAA’s restructured Board of Directors in 2015.

I’m confident that Division I presidents and athletic directors across the country have taken note of Commissioner Phillips’ statement.

Do You Need Help Navigating the Transfer Process?

To arrange a discussion of the NCAA Division I transfer rules, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult to review the rules that will apply to your student-athlete. You can also contact us by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

On Twitter last week, Bryan Fischer, an Athlon Sports Writer and Editor, tweeted that “…NCAA is moving forward with one-time transfers. D1 Council will vote on a waiver to allow one-time transfers for the upcoming year (2021-22) at their April meeting after the Final Four.”

Let’s assume that Mr. Fischer’s info is accurate. This will not actually be a legislative change to the Division I One-Time Transfer rule but will instead be a waiver that will apply only for this upcoming academic year.

While I have not yet seen anything reported about this on the NCAA website or on their social media accounts, I believe that the following conditions will apply for the waiver to be approved:

  • An athlete will only be able to use this waiver on their first transfer from any four-year college and will obviously need to have eligibility remaining.
  • The athlete will need to be academically eligible upon departure from the previous university. That university will need to be able to state that the athlete would be eligible for competition if the athlete was staying at or returning to that university for the upcoming semester or academic year.
  • The Division I university to which an athlete transfers from another four-year university will likely be allowed to automatically approve this waiver as long as the athlete satisfies the conditions listed above and satisfies the academic requirements to be eligible (including meeting the “progress-toward-degree” requirements) at the new university.

For a discussion of this One-Time Transfer waiver, schedule a confidential Transfer Consult to review the transfer rules and academic requirements that will apply to your student-athlete. You can also contact us by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.

If your athlete has signed an NJCAA Letter of Intent, or has been offered one by a junior college, I congratulate them on that opportunity!

But here are a few things those athletes should know about the NJCAA LOI:

  • Unlike the NCAA’s National Letter of Intent, an NJCAA LOI can be offered to and signed by a recruit even if no athletic scholarship is being offered to the recruit.
  • Once an athlete signs the LOI, they can’t be contacted by coaches at any other NJCAA college.

What happens if you change your mind after signing the LOI?

If a student-athlete decides after signing the LOI that they don’t want to attend that JUCO, they’ll need to request an NJCAA Letter of Intent Release before coaches at other NJCAA colleges can talk with them about a possible transfer.

A student-athlete who signs an NJCAA Letter of Intent but then chooses to transfer to another NJCAA college will also need to receive an NJCAA Transfer Waiver from the original JUCO that they signed with in order to be eligible.

  • The NJCAA Letter of Intent Release and the NJCAA Transfer Waiver are two separate documents. The first NJCAA college might sign the Release but not the Transfer Waiver.
  • If the student-athlete doesn’t receive the Transfer Waiver from the first NJCAA college, they’ll be ineligible for competition at the new college for one full academic year.

Furthermore, an athlete transferring within the same NJCAA conference from one college to another may be subject to more restrictive requirements.

  • They may not be eligible to compete at their new JUCO for one full academic year after a transfer from another college in the same conference.
  • They also may be prohibited from receiving a scholarship at the new NJCAA college.

Do you Have Questions Before your Athlete Signs an LOI or Need Help Navigating Through a Transfer?

Schedule a confidential Eligibility Issues or confidential Transfer Issues consult online if your athlete has questions/concerns about the rules that will specifically apply to your JUCO transfer student-athlete. You can also contact us by sending an email to rick@informedathlete.com or by calling 913-766-1235.