This new rule comes following a recommendation from the NCAA's 19-member Division I Transfer Working Group, who studied, researched and debated the issue for six months.
American Football Coaches Association executive director Todd Berry lobbied for the redshirt rule change for years and reiterated it had "unanimous" support from the coaches.
Players wanting to transfer previously had to request permission from their school to be released from their scholarship before seeking other options. "Redshirt football student-athletes are more likely to remain engaged with the team, and starters will be less likely to feel pressure to play through injuries", James said. The policy will not go into effect until October 15. Once the name is in the database, other coaches can contact that student. The rule change ends the controversial practice in which some coaches or administrators would prevent students from having contact with specific schools. "Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition".
While it's unclear where most of the Class of 2018 stands in regard to early playing time, it stands to reason that down the stretch of this fall - as has been the case in the past - there will be players who can benefit from the four-game redshirt rule. The NCAA notes, however, that conferences can enact rules that are more restrictive than the national rule. A proposal was originally presented to the D-I Council in April, but tabled to allow conferences to provide feedback from spring meetings.
Before, playing one snap of Division I football would have claimed a season of eligibility.
In an attempt to prevent schools from tampering with student-athletes already enrolled at another institution, the NCAA has made tampering a Level 2 violation.
The Division I Student-Athlete Experience Committee will examine how a similar rule could be applied to other sports and will consult with the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, according to the NCAA. Golfers, tennis players and other athletes in traditionally nonrevenue sports can transfer one time without sitting out. The so-called autonomy conferences will consider two different proposals to allow schools to cancel the aid.