Penn State football student-athletes allowed easier transfers

Due to the unprecedented nature of the Penn State sanctions, the NCAA will provide appropriate and immediate relief of some NCAA rules for all eligible football student-athletes who wish to transfer to another school.

Several Division I rules will be set aside to allow those students a simpler transfer process, an open opportunity to be recruited, and the chance to participate immediately.

“The NCAA recognizes that current football student-athletes will be negatively impacted by the Penn State sanctions,” said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for Academic and Membership Affairs. “We want to allow those eligible student-athletes as much flexibility as possible while still being mindful of some of the transfer safeguards our membership has put in place.”

The Association has addressed rules in five different categories that may impact Penn State football student-athletes wishing to transfer:


  • Football student-athletes who transfer will not have to sit out a year of competition. Any current football student-athletes who transfer to any NCAA school (all divisions) during the 2012-13 academic year will be immediately eligible, provided they are admitted through the normal process and are otherwise eligible.
  • Any current football student-athletes who begin preseason practice or enroll in classes at another school for the fall term of 2013 (begin preseason practice or enroll in classes at another institution) will be immediately eligible, provided they are admitted through the normal process and are otherwise eligible.
  • Penn State football student-athletes can decide to transfer from now until the 2013 season (before participating in preseason practice with Penn State) and play immediately at the new school.
  • Penn State will release any incoming student-athletes from the National Letter of Intent. Such individuals are not considered transfer student-athletes and can compete immediately at another school as long as they are otherwise eligible.
  • Student-athletes who transfer during the 2012 season and have not competed for Penn State during that season will be immediately eligible for competition upon transfer, provided they are admitted under the normal process and are otherwise eligible per NCAA regulations. Student-athletes who transfer during the 2012 season after having competed for Penn State will not be eligible for competition during the same season at the next institution.
  • Penn State will be responsible for notifying the NCAA regarding the status of all transfer student-athletes.

Permission to contact

  • Permission-to-contact rules are suspended. Penn State cannot restrict in any way a student-athlete from pursuing a possible transfer. Student-athletes must simply inform Penn State of their interest in discussing transfer options with other schools. Before communicating with student-athletes, interested schools also must inform Penn State of their intention to open discussions with the student-athlete.

Recruiting considerations

  • Off-campus and telephone recruiting rules are suspended, effective immediately, until the first day of classes for Penn State (August 27).
  • Official visit rules have been loosened. Any incoming or currently enrolled football student-athletes interested in taking an official visit will be permitted to do so during the 2012-13 academic year, effective immediately. The “clock” for official visits will be re-set at this time. The post-high school limits of five total visits to Division I institutions and one visit per institution continue to apply; however, student-athletes may begin taking such visits immediately.

Financial Aid limitations

  • If a student-athlete transfers for the fall of 2012 to a school that has reached its scholarship limits, the school may exceed these numbers for the 2012-13 academic year, provided it reduces such limits proportionately in the 2013-14 academic year. For example, if one student-athlete transfers to a Division I school already at the legislated limits of 25 initial counters and 85 overall counters for 2012-13, the school will be limited to 24 initial counters and 84 overall counters in 2013-14.
  • If a student-athlete transfers after the fall 2012 term, the standard financial aid rules governing counter status still apply, including the midyear replacement exception. If extenuating circumstances arise that may warrant a waiver of the standard application of financial aid rules governing counters, waiver requests will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
  • A school subject to scholarship limits due to an infractions case is allowed to accept transfers from Penn State but cannot exceed the scholarship limits specified in its infractions report. Athletically-related financial aid may not be canceled during the period of the award and these schools are not permitted the same exception allowed to schools not under Committee on Infractions sanctions.

Preseason practice considerations

  • Prior to the first day of classes at the school a student-athlete wishes to attend, a Penn State transfer student-athlete may participate in preseason practice and receive expenses to participate without being officially admitted.
  • A Penn State transfer student-athlete will not count toward the limit of 105 student-athletes who may engage in preseason practice prior to the institution’s first day of classes or first contest, whichever occurs earlier.

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