The NCAA Transfer Portal in all sports started in 2018. According to the NCAA, the Transfer Portal 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.
Student-athletes do not have to ask permission from their coaches or university to enter the portal, nor does entering mean a player must leave their previous school. There is a “withdrawn” tag within the portal database that shows if a player opts to return. Schools are not mandated to keep a player on scholarship once they enter the portal.
There are two main type of transfers when you’re considering a player movement from FBS:
- Graduate transfers
- Undergraduate transfers
The standard for an undergraduate transfer is a one-time transfer penalty that forces the student-athlete (in football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball and hockey) to sit out a season at their school of choice. An undergraduate transfer with at least two years of eligibility who drops down a level – FCS or JUCO – is not required to sit out a season.
Graduate transfers are free to transfer to another FBS school without penalty and can play right away.
Exceptions to Those Rules
- If you’re a walk-on athlete. The NCAA altered its rules in 2019 allowing walk-on athletes, those without financial assistance from their previous school, to transfer elsewhere without penalty. This means someone like Baker Mayfield, who sat out at Oklahoma in 2014 after leaving Texas Tech, would now be been eligible to play immediately.
- If your sport is dropped or no longer sponsored by your school.
- If you have not participated within your sport for two years. This includes things like practicing for more than 14 consecutive days, so those who simply did not play the following season (like in redshirt situations) would not be aided by this rule.
- If you return to your original school without participating in sports at your second school. This helps athletes in the rare circumstance in which they announce a transfer, enroll and then change their mind.
- If a student-athlete plays for a team that is banned from the postseason for the remainder of his career, that student-athlete can transfer right away with immediate eligibility. The exception here is if said player cased the NCAA infraction.
Most notable transfers in college football history:
- JJ Watt, Central Michigan to Wisconsin
- Troy Aikman, Oklahoma to UCLA
- Justin Fields, Georgia to Ohio State
- Scott Frost, Stanford to Nebraska
- Randy Moss, Notre Dame to Florida State to Marshall
- Kyler Murray, Texas A&M to Oklahoma
- Baker Mayfield, Texas Tech to Oklahoma
- Joe Burrow, Ohio State to LSU
The transfer portal have changed in the past and expect to see future changes.
Santiago Leon is the Founder and CEO of the Sports Cast. He covers almost every sport: NFL, NBA, and world soccer. He’s also founder of sleon productions, which he specializes in technology and serves clients with solutions to make their business grow.