NCAA approves 4-game redshirt rule for college football

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Beginning this season, players can participate in up to four games and not lose a season of eligibility, after a rule change approved Wednesday by the Division I Council. "This new system allows a student to inform his or her current school of a desire to transfer, then requires that school to enter the student's name into a national transfer database within two business days". "I'm proud of the effort the Transfer Working Group put forth to make this happen for student-athletes, coaches and schools".

The previous transfer rule, which required student-athletes to get permission from their current school to contact another school before they can receive a scholarship after transfer, was meant to discourage coaches from recruiting student-athletes from other Division I schools.

Beyond this change, the Transfer Working Group is considering other transfer issues, including the processes surrounding postgraduate transfers.

Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall has been an outspoken proponent of the NCAA changing its redshirt rules to allow younger players the chance to get some limited game experience without losing a full year of eligibility.

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It will begin this fall, with the 2018 season, wiping away the need for schools to petition the NCAA for a medical redshirt if a player had already played in a game.

In recent years, a number of high profile cases became public where a coach and school attempted to block an athlete from transferring to a rival program or one in the same conference it competed in. The change will come with stricter tampering rules to help appease coaches who worry illegal recruiting could rise.

"This change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being", Miami athletics director Blake James, chairman of the Division I Council, said in a statement.

Even with the new rule, conferences could still restrict athletes from transferring within the league. The new rule was developed based on a series of principles the Division I Board of Directors developed for the working group, including any rule changes should support the academic success of student-athletes, be based on data and create the least restrictive environment possible for student-athletes.

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"Redshirt football student-athletes are more likely to remain engaged with the team, and starters will be less likely to feel pressured to play through the injuries".

To address one specific concern, the Council specified that midyear enrollees can not use the exception to play a bowl game before their first academic term.

The previous rule was scrutinized as transferring players were limited in what schools they were able to choose from after being blocked from specific programs.

Previously, a player would be ineligible to redshirt if they played as little as one play in one game.

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