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NCAA transfer rules for four-year college transfers

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This is a guideline and does not include all NCAA or Conference Transfer rules and regulations.

The compliance office at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) frequently receives questions about the NCAA transfer rules. Some of the basic rules that apply when a student-athlete wishes to transfer from one NCAA institution to another are set forth below.

Permission to contact: As a general rule, a student-athlete attending another NCAA institution may not have contact with a coach at UTSA to discuss a transfer until the other institution grants written permission (must be sent/received from the compliance office/or designee) for such contact to occur. If the request for permission to contact is denied, then no contact or recruiting by UTSA is permitted. The student-athlete may still choose transfer to UTSA and could join the team upon enrollment. However, because of the denial of permission to contact, the student-athlete in this case would not be permitted to receive any athletics aid from UTSA until he or she has attended UTSA for a full academic year.

Transfer rule: In most cases, a student-athlete who transfers from one NCAA institution to another is permitted to practice and receive athletics aid immediately at the second institution. As a general rule, the transfer student is required to serve an "academic year-in-residence" at the second institution prior to competing. However, several exceptions to the transfer rule exist that enable a student-athlete to be immediately eligible for competition at the second institution. The most commonly used exception is known as the "one-time transfer exception." As the name suggests, this exception allows a student-athlete to transfer from one NCAA institution to another on one occasion and be immediately eligible for competition. Certain conditions must be met to use this exception, including: (1) the student-athlete must have been in good academic standing and academically eligible for competition at the previous institution; (2) the previous institution must grant the student-athlete written permission to use of the exception; and (3) the student-athlete cannot have transferred previously from a four-year institution. [Note: In Division I, the one-time transfer exception is not available if the student-athlete wishes to participate in basketball, men's ice hockey or Division I/Football Bowl Subdivision football at the second institution].

Right to a hearing: Whenever a request for permission to contact or permission to use the one-time transfer exception is denied, the institution denying the request must notify the student-athlete in writing of the right to request a hearing to contest the denial. The committee conducting such hearings must be comprised entirely of individuals who work outside of the athletics department.

Intra-conference transfer rule: Under the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) transfer rule (which supersedes the NCAA rule), a student-athlete who transfers directly from one WAC institution to another must serve a year-in-residence at the second WAC institution before competing. In addition, the student-athlete is charged with using a season of competition during that year and may not receive athletics aid during that year. Exceptions to the WAC rule exist, but they are very limited.

Thank you for supporting UTSA athletics and our compliance program. If you have any questions about NCAA rules, please contact the compliance office: (210) 458-5493.

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