Transferring to a different college in 2020 is an extremely complicated and difficult process if you play outside of the NCAA. Even with the implementation of the new transfer portal system in the NCAA, athletes still have very little knowledge of how to go about leaving their current institution and the rules/laws that surround transferring. This article will explain how the NCAA portal works, how to transfer to the NCAA if you play in another college league and how your eligibility is effected when leaving your current program.
Since its Oct. 15, 2018, debut, the NCAA Transfer Portal has had a huge impact in collegiate sports. It was created as a compliance tool to systematically manage the transfer process from start to finish, add more transparency to the process among schools and empower student-athletes to make known their desire to consider other programs. When a student-athlete wants to transfer to another institution they just need to speak with their compliance administrator and within 2 business days they will have their name placed within the portal. Once you are in the system, schools can reach out and contact you just like a free agency.
The major downside for student-athletes is that their current school can reduce or stop giving them athletic aid at the end of the term in which the request was made to enter the Transfer Portal. To sum things up, the NCAA council changed the transfer rules and adopted a notification of transfer model which eliminated the permission to contact form, giving players more freedom to leave their current institution.
So great, we got rid of a rule that never should have existed in the first place. However, having said that, the NCAA has now created a situation where coaches will 99.9% of the time know when one of their athletes is thinking about transferring. Imagine a situation where an athlete is looking to transfer because of a bad team situation, which is a very common reason for transferring, and to compound the problem, what this new rule allows schools to do, is upon notification that an athlete intends to explore their options, the coach may revoke the scholarship expected at the end of the term (semester).
It is extremely important to not enter the portal until the start of a new semester so you have enough time to find a new program without needing to take a gap semester. While contacting schools discreetly behind your coaches back may still be achievable without entering the portal, NCAA coaches will be breaking strict rules by communicating with you if you are still enrolled at your current institution. Do not assume that you will be able to easily transfer without entering the portal.
To make matters worse the NCAA has failed to change the year in residence requirement since adapting the new transfer policy. The year in residence requirement bylaw states that transfer students are required to complete one full academic year of residence before being eligible to compete. Fortunately for us, just like every other bylaw, there are exceptions and this rule doesn’t apply to soccer until your second transfer to a NCAA program.
One way around this rule is transferring to a different league during your second transfer. This is what I did back in 2016 when I left my second NCAA school to join a team in the NAIA. I was immediately eligible to play my junior year as the transfer rules are different in every college league.
Even if you read every transfer bylaw in existence on the interest and watch every video pertaining to this subject on YouTube, it still can get confusing if you’re a double transfer from the NAIA that wants to play in the NCAA or played in the NJCAA your first 2 seasons, transferred to the NCAA and now want to go to the NAIA. There are many different paths players can take in college to try and play professionally or achieve a better scholarship so make sure you check out these transfer guides for 2 and 4 year universities -> http://www.ncaa.org/student-athletes/current/want-transfer
I would not recommend transferring more than once during your college career as you want to solidify yourself as a quality footballer in 1 conference and league for as long as you can. Jumping around from school to school for 4-5 years will not give you a chance to establish yourself as a quality college footballer.