Alabama Crimson Tide: Questions answered about new NCCA one-time transfer rule

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Crimson Tide sports teams can now accept new transfers without the player having to sit out a season. At least that will be the case when the SEC joins other Power Five conferences and removes its automatic ‘sit-out’ requirement for transferring from one SEC school to another.

The NCAA has not ‘officially’ passed the new rule as of Wednesday, but that is a formality to be resolved soon. What the new rule will and will not allow is unclear to some fans.

There had been some expectation the new rule would be a ‘one-time’ thing driven by COVID circumstances. The final approval by the Division One Council is not expected to apply to just next season. It is a permanent change in the NCAA rules. What is ‘one-time’ is players can only take advantage of it ‘one-time’ in their college career. Immediate eligibility for a player is allowed only once. Subsequent transfers by players will still require an NCAA waiver for immediate eligibility.

Some fans think of the new rule as ‘mini free agency’ and they are not wrong. However, the expansion of player freedom through the new rule is widely supported by fans.

Players and schools are going to have a busy few weeks. For players seeking an opportunity to play Alabama Crimson Tide football, the deadline for announcing their intention is May 1. Except, in typical NCAA fashion, there is a waiver element in this first year of the new rule, that can push the deadline out to July 1. For spring sports, like Alabama Crimson Tide basketball, the deadline is July 1 for every season.

The NCAA Division One Council action will not apply to players having already transferred in their college career. Those athletes will not gain a future transfer opportunity with immediate eligibility.

Anticipation of the NCAA rule change has already led to an explosion of players choosing the Transfer Portal. Based on calculations by 247Sports, more than 1,200 college basketball players have opted for the Portal. According to,

"In football and men’s basketball combined, nearly 3,000 players—at least one-third of whom are walk-ons—are actively in the portal. The number in men’s basketball alone accounts for about one-fourth of the available Division I scholarship spots."

Some college basketball administrators believe hundreds more will seek transfers because of the new NCAA ruling. In whatever number, the impact will be great. The Portal has already changed recruiting, particularly in men’s basketball. Some coaches predict a chaotic ‘wild, wild west.’ where elite programs like the Alabama Crimson Tide benefit the most.

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No doubt, there will be unintended consequences. We mentioned one in an earlier post, which is already evident. There will not be enough available slots to match the numbers seeking transfers. Some, perhaps many players, will be left out and lose a scholarship in the process.