High school athletes who want to get recruited sometimes jump on the first offer or opportunity they come across, but hidden complexities in the NCAA transfer process make it more difficult to transfer than most athletes expect.
Nerman Delic, a defensive tackle at Kentucky, illustrates why the transfer process requires thought before action. Delic recently transferred from Kentucky, an FBS school, to Georgia State, an FCS school. Typically when an athlete
transfers from an FBS to an FCS school they are not required to sit out a year. This situation is slightly different though because Georgia State is set to move into the FBS next year; because of this, the NCAA told Delic he must sit out a year of competition. The NCAA does not have to comment or explain why they decide to accept or deny a transfer waiver.
Ultimately, Delic is happy with his decision because he will have two years of eligibility left and he can finish out his playing career about an hour from where he grew up; but, it shows how what seems like a relatively straight-forward process can become more challenging than expected.
If you are thinking about transferring or you are attending a school with the sole purpose of transferring, there are some things we think you should consider.
Make Good Choices Early
Sometimes transferring is necessary, but you can increase your chances of avoiding it by starting your recruiting early. Figure out what schools are best for you. Don’t just window shop by school name. Learn about class sizes, majors, academic support, the training facilities, and visit as many campuses as you can. The better fit a college is for you, the more likely it is you end up graduating from there.
Think About the Consequences of Transferring
How much eligibility do you have left? Is it worth it to sit out a year? Nermin Delic doesn’t mind having to sit out a year to play for a couple years near his hometown. How would that decision affect you? If you are holding on to your valuable years of eligibility and don’t want to lose any, transferring might not be a good option for you.
Know the Transfer Rules Before Entering College
If you are attending a school with the sole purpose of transferring, you are better off looking at a junior college or an NAIA school. It is much easier to transfer from one of these schools to an NCAA division I or II school than it is to go from an NCAA school to another NCAA school.
Fully Evaluate Your Situation Before Trying to Transfer
If you are transferring from an NCAA division I or II school then you will need a waiver from your athletic department just to discuss transfer options with other coaches. If a coach finds out that you have contacted them without a waiver, then they will not continue to speak with you (and if they do then it’s a violation).
Asking your athletic department for a waiver can create a rift between you and a coach, which can lead to you losing playing time if you decide not to transfer. You are not allowed to constantly look for opportunities while continuing to play, which creates a situation where an athlete must choose to transfer or stay, likely before they even know what opportunities are available.