With Auburn losing multiple players this week due to transfer, it seems likely to assume that others around the college football world will likely follow suit within the next few days? Why are people transferring out of their programs, leaving their team, in the middle of the year? It is quite simple. They are taking advantage of the new redshirt rule. The new rule allows players to play in four games in a season without losing a year of eligibility. It was originally implemented to help coaches develop some of the younger talent, but older players are now using it as a scapegoat.
In the past, most athletes waited until the season was over to announce that they were transferring to another school in hopes of finding more playing time. The timing did not really matter as much back then because if you played a single down in college football that year and decided to transfer, you would have to sit out the next season. The only time that I can truly remember players transferring out of the team during a season happened to be with the Alabama Crimson Tide. After Jalen Hurts took over the starting job at quarterback as a freshman, Blake Barnett decided to announce that he would transfer; just shortly after the first game.
There haven’t been many departures yet this season in response to the new transferring rule, but Auburn has been struck with it quite frequently over the span of two days. In just a span of 48 hours, Jalen Harris, Nate Craig-Myers, and Jayvaughn Myers all decided to transfer from the Plains to another university in the future. While they may be the only ones that we know about for now, Gus Malzahn said that we could see the trend continue to grow in the near future; and that statement is very likely to be true. With this being the fourth weekend of college football, many players will use their fourth and final game of the season before they decide to move on. There will likely be a ton of athletes transferring this upcoming week; could Jalen Hurts be one of them?
So, what was the original purpose for this rule? Well, many true freshmen come to campus and may not be quite ready to crack the rotation just yet in their first year. There may be some that have the talent, but they play a position in which their team has a lot of depth and may not be needed until next year. With the new rule, coaches can put their players in the game (most likely in games where the score is comfortably in hand and the outcome of the game cannot be changed) and allows them to gain the invaluable game experience that they all need. That always seems to be something that coaches worry about when their players are young and stepping into a starting role. They preach about the youth of their athlete and the lack of actual in-game experience. This rule allows them to come into four games and head into next season with limited experience.
With the expectation of more athletes transferring, it seems as if the NCAA will have to tweak their rule, so players cannot take advantage of it. In what was thought to be something positive for the coaches and players, inadvertently created a large college football free agency.