A pair of Big 12 faculty representatives have authored a new proposal that could dramatically change how college football programs do business.
The draft, obtained by CBS Sports’s Dennis Dodd, would allow all players to be free to transfer and play immediately if their head coach resigns or is fired. The catch here is that the players would not be allowed to transfer to their previous head coach’s new school.
Another key change would be that players would no longer need permission from their current school in order to leave and receive aid at a new one. In a time when coaches regularly leave by the hundreds to earn six- and seven-figures immediately at their new schools, restricting the movements of unpaid students is among the NCAA’s most unpopular stances.
This rule would allow a player to transfer from Ohio State to Michigan and immediately receive a scholarship at Michigan without needing Urban Meyer’s permission first.
The new proposal would also codify two more changes. First, players would be free to transfer if their current school is sanctioned out of postseason play. Second, the proposal makes all walk-ons free to transfer and receive aid at a new school without restriction. Call this one the Baker Mayfield Clause.
Additionally, the proposal would extend a player’s 5-year competition clock in the event of a transfer. So a redshirt sophomore who leaves one FBS school for another under non-exempted circumstances would still have to sit out his first year at University B, but he would be given a sixth year to compete on the back end of his career.
The NCAA’s board of directors has made transfer reform a priority for this legislative cycle, and one proposal went as far as to allow all players a one-time waiver to transfer and play immediately at a new school. (The AFCA this far has been resistant to any changes in transfer protocol.) This one doesn’t go that far, but it would dramatically change how ADs and presidents hire and fire head coaches moving forward.
Under this rule, the entire Florida State roster would essentially become free agents after Jimbo Fisher departed for Texas A&M. Those Seminoles could not follow him to College Station, but they would be free the join the rosters of Alabama, Georgia, Clemson or Florida.
View the official language below:
A student-athlete may transfer without the permission of the original institution and be immediately eligible for aid and practice. A student-athlete who transfers is not eligible for competition for the academic year following transfer, unless:
1. the student-athlete earned a baccalaureate degree at the original institution;
2. the student-athlete’s head coach at the original institution resigned or was fired during or after the most recent season of competition, except that the student-athlete is not immediately eligible at another institution at which the head coach is employed;
3. sanctions have been imposed on the original institution that limit post-season competition in the student-athlete’s sport;
4. the student-athlete did not receive athletically-related financial aid at the original institution; or
5. an exception in bylaw 184.108.40.206 or 14.5.6 is satisfied.
A first-time transfer who is not immediately eligible for competition receives a one-year extension to the five-year clock if it is necessary to ensure that the student-athlete does not lose a year of competition due to transfer.
This bylaw, like the December signing period that went into effect last season, would change the way schools do business in ways both large and small, creating changes that can not fully be anticipated until the rule goes into effect. Would, say, a Texas A&M show more patience with Kevin Sumlin knowing that Nick Saban and Gus Malzahn would be free to recruit the Aggies’ entire roster after his firing? And how much leverage would a head coach with an offer from another school hold over his current AD, knowing that AD would have to replace an entire coaching staff and risk his entire roster becoming free agents to the rest of college football?
Stay tuned to this one.