Last week the NCAA changed its transfer rules, allowing athletes to transfer to whichever school they want without permission from their current coach or athletic department.
Once an athlete informs a coach or department official of the intention to transfer, the school has two business days to list his name in the national transfer registry. At that point, opposing coaches can contact the player to gauge interest and, essentially, begin a recruitment process.
That’s where Kiffin’s concern potentially enters the process.
“It does make it difficult if they stay with that,” Kiffin said. “OK, you have this time period basically you can go take visits and then come back. I don’t know. It would be like being married and letting your wife go date and then come back, I guess. That part’s a little strange to me.”
The new NCAA regulations, which go into effect on Oct. 15, do not specifically address a transfer official visit period, but it stands to reason that players would want to visit a school before electing to transfer to it. An athlete who places his name in the transfer database can change his mind and elect to stay at his current school.
In what is viewed as a companion piece of legislation to the new transfer rule policy, the NCAA autonomy conferences on Tuesday – after Kiffin offered his opinion on the transfer rule – voted to allow schools to cancel an athlete’s financial aid at the end of the current semester should a student announce the intention to transfer. This applies even if the athlete doesn’t ultimately elect to transfer.
This piece of legislation is intended to give schools protection from athletes who try to wield the threat of transfer as a weapon against their school, giving the school a remedy for athletes who might want to constantly appear on the transfer list until they get the opportunity they are looking for. Schools can cancel a potential transfer’s scholarship at the end of the semester, with the option of reinstating it at te school’s discretion.
“In fairness to the transfer student-athlete’s teammates, coaching staff and overall team dynamic, the Division I SAAC felt that a student-athlete should not be able to give notification, search for other opportunities, then return to their institution if dissatisfied with their options with no repercussions,” Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. SAAC chair Noah Knight said in an NCAA release.
Prior to the legislation passed last week, schools could prohibit athletes from transferring to other programs designated by the coach or the school. Often coaches would use that power to prevent athletes from transferring to rival schools or schools within their same conference.
The NCAA kept the requirement than a player transferring within the FBS level has to sit out one season, which pleased Kiffin.
“I’m glad it didn’t go all the way to where they discussed as far as, basically, free agency,” Kiffin said.
Since his hiring in December of 2016 Kiffin’s convinced several of high profile transfers to come to Boca Raton. Former Oklahoma quarterback Chris Robison, considered one of the top quarterback signees of the 2017 recruiting class, came to FAU after being dismissed by the Sooners. He’s currently battling De’Andre Johnson for the Owls’ starting quarterback spot.
Wide receiver Jovon Durante transferred to FAU from West Virginia last fall and is expected to start this season.
Former Auburn wide receiver Kyle Davis transferred to FAU in the spring and will have to sit out this season in compliance with NCAA rules.
Defensive tackle Jermiah Taleni and wide receiver John Franklin transferred to FAU from Pitt and Auburn respectively as graduate students and were able to play immediately. The new NCAA regulations don’t affect graduate transfers.
Daniel Parr, 2017’s opening-game starting quarterback before losing his job to Jason Driskel, is the highest profile player to transfer from FAU during Kiffin’s tenure. Parr recently completed the spring semester at FCS level Duquesne.
Overall Kiffin didn’t seem to mind the new transfer rules giving more power to athletes.
“Like any new rule, you really don’t know until you go through a year of it,” Kiffin said.