Wednesday arrived with a flurry of news regarding updated NCAA rules that affect transfers and redshirts.
The most welcome change impacts how much a football player can participate in a season before burning his redshirt. Before Wednesday, players could not participate in a game without losing a season of eligibility, except if they had an injury and with a few other exceptions.
Now, players are allowed to participate in up to four games without losing their redshirt status. The NCAA says that part of the rule change was to relieve pressure from starters that feel obliged to play through injuries.
Stipulations of the rule have not been released yet. It’s possible that they might only apply to the first four games of the season, though the quote mentioned in the press release doesn’t specify.
The other rule change involves the permission-to-contact system for transfers. Previously, the rule required student-athletes to get permission from their current school to contact another school before they could receive a scholarship after transfer. It discouraged recruiting players from other programs.
Wednesday’s rule change made it so that student-athletes no longer have to ask permission from their current programs. Instead, students will inform their current school of their desire to transfer. Schools are then required to enter the student’s name into a national transfer database promptly. Once the student-athlete’s name is in the database, other coaches are free to contact that individual.
Other rules remain in place however. Transfers are still required to sit out a year before they can play with their new school, and conferences can still make their own rules regarding transfer limitations.
These updated guidelines give Florida State football some leeway with its roster. While it’s impossible to predict what future seasons will hold, the new redshirt rule could’ve seriously impacted previous seasons. The redshirt rule in particular will come as a great relief to many college coaches.
When Sean Maguire went down in the 2015 Peach Bowl, backup quarterback J.J. Cosentino was the only available option, since Everett Golson did not make the trip. Yet many had observed that Deondre Francois looked more capable than Cosentino throughout the year.
But then head coach Jimbo Fisher did not want to burn his redshirt for one bowl game, so Francois remained on the sidelines while Cosentino struggled on the field. Interestingly enough, Maguire coming back out on a broken ankle is probably something the rule change is aiming to prevent — the pressure to fight through injury knowing that your team needs you.
When Florida State had more than 20 players suspended for the 2007 Music City Bowl against Kentucky following an academic cheating scandal, then head coach Bobby Bowden elected not to play players he had planned to redshirt to avoid having them losing a year of eligibility to participate in one game. This rule could’ve been a huge benefit at the time.
Florida State football has not had many recent transfers that weren’t from the community college ranks or grad transfers, such as Golson. How Taggart plans to use those options remains unknown. It is possible that the new database leads to more coaches seeking out transfers to fill roster spots.
Basketball is a different story. In general, college basketball transfers are more common. While the rule changes don’t radically alter the status quo, it still provides an easier system for both student-athletes and schools. Notable recent transfers for Florida State include Leticia Romero, Chatrice White, A.J. Alix and just recently, Malik Osborne.
It’s also very likely that Florida State sees an uptick in transfers from its programs. The changing landscape of college athletics gives student-athletes more freedom in deciding where they want to spend their years of eligibility. While it’s not going to be devastating, it’s still something to keep an eye on.
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