Students Who Transfer Schools More Then Once Face Restrictions Playing Sports

Photo courtesy of Marcus Emerson.

If you are a transfer student who enjoys playing sports, you will likely want to be able to continue playing that same sport at your new school. If it is after your first time transferring, this is not a problem, as the NCAA allows students who transfer schools for the first time to continue playing their same sport if it is offered at their new school. However, if a student finds themselves transferring schools more than once, they will find the rules to be more restrictive.

Point Loma Nazarene University’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Jackie Armstrong said that the NCAA has a rule that students must wait a year to continue playing their sport after they transfer schools for a second time. 

“You transfer fewer units when you go to another school, another school, another school, and then you run out of eligibility, and then they find student athletes don’t graduate,” Armstrong said. 

The NCAA values academics; its own four-year transfer guide states that student-athletes are more likely to earn a degree (89% in Division I, 76% in Division II, and 88% in Division III) than to become professional athletes. The rules are in place to help student-athletes put academics first, but they can also leave students frustrated.

Fourth-year communication major Tavia Rowell loves to play basketball, but after transferring schools twice, she is not able to play at PLNU for two semesters. She still continues to support her team by attending practices and games, yet she can not play in the games. Rowell said she understands that the NCAA does not like students going from school to school because it slows down their graduation, but she said she also feels her situation was not exactly fair. 

“There’s some things we [students] have to go through that affect us and then we have to transfer because of it. For example, at both schools, my coach was fired. And for that reason, I was forced to transfer,” Rowell said. 

While students may not be able to play during this time, Armstrong noted that students are still eligible to receive scholarships. She acknowledged how students transferring more than once is uncommon, so this only affects a small group of people. 

For the few students this rule does affect, Armstrong encourages them to be good teammates and support their teams at practices. She also said that students should make sure they stay eligible to play, as falling behind academically could prevent them from playing once those two semesters are done. NCAA eligibility rules require students to maintain 12 units per semester, with nine of those toward their major and have a 2.0 GPA or above. 

Written By: Troy Davidson