"This change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being", Miami athletics director Blake James, chairman of the Division I Council, said in a statement. "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.
Virginia football coach Bronco Mendenhall has been an outspoken proponent of the NCAA changing its redshirt rules to allow younger players the chance to get some limited game experience without losing a full year of eligibility.
Per NCAA.org's Michelle Brutlag Hosick, the Division I Council approved a new "notification-of-transfer " rule that requires schools to enter a student who wishes to transfer into the national transfer database.
The new transfer rule goes into effect October 15.
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 Division I Council adopted a proposal this week that creates a new "notification-of-transfer" model.
"This creates a safe place for student-athletes to have a conversation with their coaches and makes the whole process more transparent", said Nicholas Clark, a former player at Coastal Carolina who represents the Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
The previous rule required permission for the athletes to be able to contact another school to receive a scholarship after transferring.
The Transfer Working Group will continue working on other transfer issues, including rules surrounding postgraduate transfers, and still is exploring the possibility of uniform transfer rules. Instead of a student-athlete asking for permission to transfer from his or her school, the student-athlete will now simply inform the school of his or her decision to transfer. "The new exception allows football players to preserve a season of competition if, for example, injuries or other factors result in them competing in a small number of games".
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. Once an athlete's name is in the database, other school are free to make contact.
Previously, a player would be ineligible to redshirt if they played as little as one play in one game.
Even with the new rule, conferences could still restrict athletes from transferring within the league.