How Does the NCAA Transfer Portal Work?
In 2018, the NCAA instituted a new rule allowing Division I athletes to add their names to a "transfer portal" without permission from the program.
Entering the NCAA transfer portal is a necessary first step for any athlete who wishes to transfer to another institution. Once an athlete decides to transfer and is added to the database, any coach can contact the athlete. The process is now in the hands of athletes–past situations where universities blocked talented players from leaving are no longer permissible. However, schools are now allowed to cancel the scholarships of players at the end of the semester in which they expressed their intent to transfer.
With the college football season over, many athletes will be adding their names to the NCAA transfer portal. Some players, like former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant, have already entered the portal and transferred, in this case to Missouri. Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts added his name on Wednesday. Ohio State’s Tate Martell and Oklahoma’s Austin Kendall followed suit.
Making big splashes in the transfer market could pay dividends, particularly at quarterback. For example, Washington State won 11 games last year behind the play of graduate transfer Gardner Minshew. The last two Heisman winners, Oklahoma quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, both transferred to the Sooners.
The transfer rules still require players to sit out for a full academic year before they can begin playing, but athletes can file for waivers on the basis of any number of possible exceptions, as several Ole Miss players successfully did last offseason in the wake of the school’s NCAA sanctions. Ohio State’s Justin Fields, the No. 2-ranked quarterback in the class of 2018, plans to seek immediate eligibility following his departure from Georgia, where he spent the 2018 season. However, players like Hurts and Minshew who have graduated from their original school but still have eligibility are allowed to play immediately.