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Where Do Transfer Regulations Go From Here?

Back in January, when the Leadership Council was looking at major changes to the transfer model, there was a clear idea where permission to contact might go. By expanding the pool of athletes who would be eligible to play immediately, tying permission to contact to competition rather than financial aid made sense. Athletes would still be able to go wherever they wanted, coaches and athletic directors would be appeased. And a second change, to allow athletes who were not eligible for a transfer exception additional years to play out their eligibility, would have reduced the impact when permission was not granted.

Now as another round of denials of permission to contact hit the news, the Leadership Council has fewer options since they scaled back the potential changes to transfer exceptions. But one potential change that will get continued work is permission to contact:

In addition, the subcommittee would like to further explore the effectiveness of the permission to contact requirement, as well as whether it is most appropriate to tie the rule to the ability to receive athletics aid at the next institution.

Without a large increase in the number of athletes who would be eligible for a transfer exception, especially in football and men’s basketball, tying permission to contact to competition does not work. While it would be meaningless (thus great for athletes seeking a transfer), it would be next to impossible to get such a rule through the legislative process.

There is really only one other place to tie permission to contact: practice. Such a rule would say that schools can give any transfer financial aid (so long as they are eligible for it) but the athlete would need permission to contact to practice (as well as a transfer exception in order to play). This easily fits in with permission to contact exceptions, like when a sport is discontinued or an institution receives a postseason ban.

That still fails to address some other issues with permission to contact, like the application of the rule to walk-ons and players who have been cut and how to handle the recruiting of an athlete who is determined to leave but has not been granted permission to contact any school or a specific school. It is also unknown how effective a practice ban would be in discouraging the recruitment of transfers, whether removing scholarship dollars from the equation justifies denying all permission to contact, and what the impact on student-athlete academic and social success will be without practice.

Attaching permission to contact to practice would be the next logical step as the Leadership Council looks to reshape the transfer rules. Whether it significantly reduces criticism while freeing up athletes who want or need to transfer and giving athletic directors and coaches enough to get the change passed is the open question.

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