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What is the Transfer Portal?
The transfer portal is the system that allows college football players to change schools. It is a database that lists all players who intend to transfer, signaling to other schools that they can reach out to those players. It is the medium by which college football players transfer from one school to another.
How many times can college football players transfer?
Undergraduate students can transfer one time to any school with no strings attached. Graduate students can transfer with no strings attached, as well. The NCAA rules on transferring and eligibility changed in 2021. Graduate students previously were allowed to transfer and play immediately; however, undergraduate students who transferred used to have to sit out for one year before they could play for their new school. That is no longer the case.
When was the transfer portal created?
The transfer portal was created in 2018. Its goal is to provide a centralized place for schools to monitor transfer students. It created a single system for players to give notice that they intend to transfer, and for schools to be able to reach out to those players.
What were the old transfer rules?
Prior to 2021, college football players had to sit out for one year if they transferred schools. Graduate students were exempt from this rule. Graduate students were allowed to transfer schools and play immediately. In 2021, the NCAA changed the transfer rules to expand this exception to undergraduate students. Undergrads can now transfer once and be eligible to play immediately, too.
Prior to 2021, if an undergraduate player transferred schools, they had to sit out for a year or request a waiver. A waiver allowed a college football player to be immediately eligible if they met certain criteria that were arbitrarily enforced. The NCAA did not apply waivers in a consistent manner. Given the new rule change to allow one transfer with immediate eligibility, that problem has largely been solved.
The change in transfer rules came around the same time as the change to name, image, and likeness rules in college football. When considering these two significant changes, and seismic conference realignment sparked by Oklahoma and Texas joining the SEC, 2021 proved to be a watershed moment for college football.