Case-Study: Transfers and the NCAA Portal

Case-Study: Transfers and the NCAA Portal

TITLE: Case-Study: Transfers and the NCAA Portal

Keywords: Notification, Prospective Student Athletes, Transfer, Release, Residency.

On October 15th, 2018, the NCAA rolled out what people are calling the “Transfer Portal.” This is an online list of students that have notified their NCAA Division 1 school of their intent to transfer, once notified the school then must add this student to the portal. Once the student is in the portal, they can be seen by other NCAA coaches and can be contacted without prior permission from their current school. In this press release the NCAA states that the purpose is to end the controversial practice of schools limiting where transfers can go and who they can contact.

We have written on the topic of transferring and contact several times and those briefs can be found below.

  • September 2018: this brief outlines who is a transfer and what happens when they get on campus.
  • May 2018: here we discussed our new legislation that passed in April at the National Convention regarding transfer releases and residency.
  • June 2016: in this article we outline how our rules interact with those that are in place in the NCAA.

This portal and the changes the NCAA has made do not affect NAIA coaches or schools. Our rules are still in place and supersede any changes the NCAA has made. This means that our notification bylaw, recruiting bylaw, and transfer release bylaw still must be adhered to when dealing with division 1 transfer students.

Bylaw: Article II, Section D, Item 1.

1.       Recruitment of an Enrolled Student-Athlete

If, during the school year or summer vacation period, the athletics director, faculty athletics representative, or coach of a member institution is contacted or becomes aware of contact by an athlete who enrolled at another institution of higher learning (two-year or four-year), it shall be the responsibility of the contacted institution (athletics director or faculty athletics representative) to notify, in writing, the institution (athletics director or faculty athletics representative) where the athlete is presently enrolled within 10 days following the first contact.

A coach or another representative of a member institution shall not initiate contact with an athlete who has enrolled at another four-year institution. It is permissible to contact a student who is currently enrolled at a two-year institution once the student completes the academic year in which the student utilizes his/her first season of competition.

A coach or another representative of a member institution may respond to a contact by an athlete only after the enrolled athlete’s institution (athletics director or faculty athletics representative) has been notified as prescribed above.

Bylaw: Article V, Section G, Item 1.

1.       A student who has participated in an intercollegiate contest at the immediately previous four-year institution and then transfers to an NAIA member institution shall be required to be in residence for a period of 16 calendar weeks before being eligible for the sport(s) previously participated in at the four-year institution.

A student shall have the 16 calendar weeks residency requirement waived for participation in that same sport provided the student has a cumulative minimum overall GPA of 2.000 (on a 4.000 scale) from all previously attended institutions of higher learning and receives a written release from the athletics director, assistant or associate athletics director, or compliance officer at the immediately previous four-year institution.

EXCEPTION 1: If a student’s NAIA school requests a written release from the student’s previous four-year institution and the previous institution does not respond to the request within 30 days, the written release will be deemed automatically approved, provided the NAIA institution can produce the prescribed written documentation showing a transfer release was requested. To satisfy this requirement, the NAIA institution’s request must be made via email and directed to the previous four-year institution’s athletics director, associate athletics director and/or compliance officer, including as many of these individuals as possible.

EXCEPTION 2: A student who has completed all academic requirements for graduation and who has transferred to an NAIA institution and enrolled in a graduate program, professional school or fifth-year, post baccalaureate degree teacher education program will not be subject to the residency requirement. A graduate transfer student can compete immediately at the new institution, and there is not a release or minimum GPA required, pursuant to any applicable conference rules.

A student who has not participated in an intercollegiate contest at the immediately previous four-year institution is not subject to the residency period in that sport.

The term “16 weeks” refers to 16 consecutive calendar weeks (112 calendar days), including vacations and inter-terms (except summer terms). The 16 weeks does not refer to school weeks.


Case Studies

*Assume all schools are NAIA institutions unless otherwise noted and all NCAA schools are Division 1.

Scenario 1:

Larry is currently identified at Indiana University (NCAA) and has informed them he intends to transfer after playing one season at IU. Pursuant to the new NCAA bylaw, they add him to the transfer player database. French Lick University hears about his intentions and wants to contact Larry directly. Would this be allowable?

Answer 1:

No. Article II, Section G, Item 1, specifically prohibits recruitment of students who are identified with other four-year institutions. The fact that the NCAA would allow their schools to contact him does not negate the NAIA rule outlawing this action. French Lick University would have to wait to contact the student until he or his representative makes first contact.

Scenario 2 (continuation of the facts from Scenario 1):

Larry’s dad contacts French Lick University and tells them his son is interested in transferring back closer to home. He tells the French Lick coach that his son is on the transfer player portal and thus the coach does not need to contact Indiana. Is this correct? If not what does the French Lick coach need to do?

Answer 2:

This is not correct! Since the coach was contacted by a representative of Larry’s our notification bylaw has been triggered. The coach would have to alert his AD and FAR and provide notification to Indiana within 10 days of the initial contact. This notification has to be in writing and sent to the AD or FAR at Indiana. The fact that the student is in the transfer portal does not affect or eliminate the NAIA’s bylaws on notification. Once notification has been made, the French Lick would be free to contact Larry.

Scenario 3 (continuation of the fact pattern from above scenarios): 

Larry has decided to transfer to French Lick University for the 2019-2020 basketball season. Larry goes through the eligibility center and gets a determination of eligible. Will Larry have to serve residency at French Lick University or will residency be waived since he was on the transfer player portal?

Answer 3:

Larry would have to serve residency at French Lick University based on the facts above. The fact that he is on the transfer player portal does not count as a release from his previous four-year school. Larry would have to have a 2.000 GPA or above and a release from IU’s athletic director, assistant athletic director, or compliance officer in order to be eligible to compete immediately. French Lick would have to request the release in an email sent to the AD, assistant AD, and compliance officer including as many people as possible. If the release is denied then Larry would have to sit residency.

Please join us at noon central on Tuesday for Facebook live, where Legislative Services will discuss this topic in more detail.