Transfer Issues Related to "Walk-ons" in College Athletics

Question: My daughter is participating on the volleyball team at a Division II college as a walk-on. The coaching staff did not recruit her. She now desires to transfer to a college closer to home that is in the same conference as her first college and join their volleyball team. Her current coach won’t give her permission to contact any school in the same conference. Does the coach have the right to do this? The coaches didn’t even recruit my daughter.

Answer: In many cases the coach does have the right to do this. If a student-athlete at one four-year college contacts another four-year college about the possibility of a transfer, the coach at the second college is not permitted to speak with the student-athlete until he/she has received written permission from an athletic administrator at the first college. In this case, however, the first college must provide your daughter with the opportunity for an appeal hearing with a campus committee. We provide assistance to athletes that find themselves in this situation. For more information, call 913-766-1235 or email

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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15 Responses to Transfer Issues Related to "Walk-ons" in College Athletics

  • Elizabeth

    My son wrote an introduction letter to a D1 Track & Field Coach, upon graduating HS. He had not been recruited by this or any other institution. The Coach stated that he could not offer a scholarship, and that he could try out for the team. A “walk on” I presume. After his Spring Indoor Season, his talent could not be denied and he was offered a scholarship for the Outdoor Season. He was the first ever Freshman to become their Conference’s winner, and continued to be winner and All Conference. He is now a Sr. and has 2 outdoor, 1 indoor season of eligibility left.
    since then the school acquired a new asst. coach who fought for and won the position of Head Coach (got him fired), where upon firing the Trainer and this year coercing 2 of her top 3 sprinters out. One of those, being my son. He was neither “cut” nor did he quit. She simply called him into a meeting (11/7) and stated: “What school do you want to go to, I will sign your release?”, with that, stated that “she would need an answer to be able to finalize this and ‘free-up’ his scholarship money.” one week later (11/14) the Release has been declined. We are guessing by the Athletic Director. It has been suggested that my son Appeal to a partial party/board of 5 and he will have 10 minutes and she 10 minutes. I assumed an appeal was in writing. Hearing to follow.
    NOTE: Permission to Contact was issued the day of that meeting (11/7)

    Q: Does your mentioned non-recruited athlete play into this at all?

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      The “non-recruited athlete” status doesn’t impact this situation, and wouldn’t anyway even if it were not this complicated, as that only applies to the sports of baseball, basketball, football, and men’s ice hockey.

      I don’t understand when you say that the Permission to Contact was issued on 11/7, but prior to that you stated that “One week later (11/14) the Release has been declined.” Has your son requested the appeal and has it been scheduled yet? I suggest you contact me directly with this info at


  • Elizabeth

    RE: non-recruit. Oh, ok.
    Yes 11/7 Permission to Contact was issued and a promise to provide a release was promised to my son AND a University (Coach) who is looking to scoop him up.(upon receiving that Permission to Contact). I believe she (current Head Coach) goofed in issuing that?
    11/14 he received a Denial to the (onetime) Transfer Release request in letter form. The Director of the Athletic Department, wanted this, stating that they “would lose APR points (in Conference)”, and due to ‘The caliber of Athlete that he is” and to “show other Athletes that they can’t ‘do this'”. (quoting the Ath. Direct.)
    Tomorrow 11/19 he will be requesting the appeal, and we are preparing his ‘defense’ for the hearing to gain that Release.

  • debra

    Hi Rick! my son is currently a sophomore attending a D1AA school on a full scholarship. as of now he’s unhappy with the situation at the school. He feels he’s not becoming a better football player at this current school. What’s my first step if I was considering transferring him to a better division? Help!!

    • Debra,

      The first step is for him to ask his coach for permission to speak with other schools about a possible transfer. Other NCAA schools aren’t permitted to speak with him (or you) about a possible transfer until they receive a “permission to contact” form, letter, or e-mail from his current school. Obviously, if he does this before the end of the season, this could harm his relationship with his coach.


  • C

    Our son left juco and went to a D2 college to play baseball…. He was never recruited….my husband called a former high school coach of his from his high school days and he called a friend of his from church that was an assistant coach at the D2 college….. Our son went to play but the first weeks of school lifted a deer stand and broke his shoulder in 3 places…. He was given a redshirt but the coach refused a medical redshirt since the accident didn’t happen on the field…. However during surgery the md informed that his labrum was badly torn…. From ball at some point…. Surgery was 95% success and our son has worked back to 99% with rehab and hard work…. He said the coach refused to allow him to catch…. He DH 2 games and was 4 for 7 with 3 run homer and 4 RBIs…. He’s a great ball player but the coach decided to go with a D1 pitcher that got kicked out of a D1 college….our son was never actually on the field in any spring season ball play…. Can he use the one time transfer to play this spring and what does he need to do step by step…. Does he need a permission to contact and a release if he has never played a spring there ?

    • C,

      It would be possible for your son to use the One-Time Transfer Exception to play somewhere this Spring. For the step by step details of what he needs to do, contact me directly for a private consultation.


  • CD

    Hello Rick,

    I am requesting information about one of my players that graduated in 2012. He is an international player that was not eligible to compete on a D1 Baseball Team due to some core credits that didn’t transfer from his home country. This player is not happy with the education provided or his development as a ballplayer this season. He doesn’t see the opportunity to earn his way into more playing time in the current situation and has asked me to see if he is able to transfer to a JUCO and help him find another home. He was considered a prospect out of HS, but now his visibility has been lost to the situation.

    A couple of questions:

    1. Is he considered a Redshirt Freshman and has three (3) years remaining of eligibility, since he played this year?

    2. Because he is a Sophomore Academically, can he even transfer to a JUCO? As a third party, I have found several JUCO schools that are interested in discussing his ability with me.

    3. If he isn’t able to transfer to a JUCO, can you help me better understand the one-time transfer rule for baseball. I have reviewed everything I can find and still seems a bit foggy to me.

    Let me know when you have a chance. Look forward to your insight. Much appreciated.

    Club Director

    • CD,

      1. He has three years remaining for college ball since he played this year.
      2. Since he’s only played one year, he can transfer to a JUCO if he chooses.
      3. I’d be happy to discuss the One-Time Transfer Exception with you. Contact me directly at to schedule a consultation.


  • Laurel

    Hi, I am a student athlete playing volleyball at a division II institution. I just finished up my freshman year. I am a walk on who was not previously recruited to be on this team. I transferred at semester from a division I institution where I was originally on their rowing team, with no scholarship. I want to contact a division I softball coach to play softball, but I don’t know if I’m allowed to contact the coach while playing volleyball at a division II institution, even though the institution I would like to contact is division I. Am I allowed to contact them without having to get a release?

    • Laurel,

      No. Because you are a student-athlete at your school, regardless of the sport, coaches at other NCAA schools can’t discuss a possible transfer with you until they receive permission from your current school.


  • Jane

    Hello! I am currently a walk-on athlete at a Division I college and I just transferred there from another Division I school that was giving me a full-ride. I completed the first year at my old Division I college and was given the release after completing my one year contract. I have only been a walk-on at this new Division I college for the spring semester and I am considering transferring to another Division I college this fall that can give me a scholarship, but I am not aware of any types of restrictions for walk-ons. I guess some questions I would have for you would be;
    1. Do I have to get a release from my current coach?
    2. Would I have to sit out a year if I were to be given a scholarship at a college? And would that college have to be in a different conference even though I was a walk-on?
    3. Since I am a walk-on, am I, or my parents allowed to contact other colleges about me considering transferring?

    If there is anything else you think I should be aware of in this case please feel free to let me know. I need all the help I can get!

    • Jane, to answer your questions:

      1. Yes.
      2. You will have to sit out a year if you transfer to a third Div. I college. If you transfer within the same conference, you may have additional restrictions depending upon the rules of that conference.
      3. Not unless you receive “permission to contact” from your current school.

      Contact me directly at if you have additional questions.


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