Social media and media outlets continue to speculate and report on college athletes who they think might be considering a transfer.  This past week, some student-athletes learned that they weren’t going to be the starter at their position and decided that the “grass is greener” at another university.

This time of year, we get many calls regarding potential transfers.  We’re always glad when a student-athlete or their parents call us before they take action because making the wrong decision can have huge negative consequences financially and personally long after the social media outlets stop talking about it. 

Here are a few things to think about before taking action:  

FIRST AND FOREMOST: Is your athlete CERTAIN that transferring is the best decision for them and that they definitely want to leave their current university??

Media reports indicate that there are more than 1000 athletes in the NCAA Transfer Portal (across all sports) and it’s unlikely that all of them will find another college team to transfer to.

Once an athlete submits their name for the NCAA Transfer Portal, it’s possible that they will be removed from their team and will lose their scholarship at the end of the semester. They could lose that opportunity and not find a new one.

Other important considerations:

Participating in organized practices before classes start, even if a student-athlete leaves and withdraws from the school before attending classes, will make them a transfer athlete under the NCAA rules and subject to transfer rules and requirements.

If an athlete has already started attending classes for this semester and is registered as a full-time student, it is rarely a good idea for them to withdraw from classes in the middle of the semester or quarter to transfer elsewhere. Encourage them to at least finish out this current term of attendance.

NCAA Division I athletes should inform their athletic department compliance office in writing or via email that they want to be entered into the NCAA Transfer Portal. Also, while not a specific requirement, it is always best to show the coach the courtesy and respect of informing them of your intentions before sending an email to the compliance office.

Also for Division I athletes, remember that once you tell your school you want to be entered in the Transfer Portal, they have the right to cancel your scholarship at the end of the semester or quarter, even if you were planning to finish out the current school year.  If you are at a Division I program that hasn’t started classes yet for this year (mostly west coast universities), telling them now that you want to be entered in the Transfer Portal before classes begin could mean that you won’t have your scholarship for this upcoming semester or quarter.

Unlike NCAA Division I athletes, NCAA Division II athletes must receive permission from their current coaching staff and athletic department before coaches at other NCAA colleges can speak with them about a possible transfer.

If your coach tells you to sign a “voluntary withdrawal form” as a condition of obtaining permission to contact other schools, remember that signing that form gives your school the right to immediately cancel your scholarship.

Athletes at NAIA athletic programs do not have to request permission from their current coach or school before they inquire with other schools about a transfer opportunity. HOWEVER, those other schools will be required to inform the athlete’s current school that they have been contacted by that athlete. When that happens, the athlete will probably be removed from their current team immediately.

Do You Need Advice?

We have helped thousands of athletes navigate the transfer process to another college. Schedule a transfer consult online or by calling our office at 913-766-1235.