NCAA’s new transfer rule is game-changing for college athletes

By Emily Montano, Jan. 31, 2023

The NCAA approved a rule last spring that gave athletes who transferred for the first time a one-time exception from the previous sit-one-year rule. This means that athletes, including some Broncos this season, who had to wait a year before playing at their new school can now compete immediately.

According to Christie Joines, Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance & Internal Relations at Cal Poly Pomona, the transfer portal is a service that the NCAA has designed for compliance administrators to process the student athlete’s transfer.

“The new rules of the transfer portal with the three deadlines that they would have to meet will enable or not enable them to use the one-time transfer,” said Joines.

Courtesy of Samantha Campion

This transfer portal has replaced the old tracer paper process, an outdated form that administrators would email or fax over and hand write out.

“It takes the restrictions out of the equation; in a sense, it helps both the coach, the institution and the student-athlete,” said Joines.

Samantha Campion, a volleyball player for CPP, transferred from the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

“I think one of the big things that drew me here was being able to play somewhere that was close to my family, and I think I kind of needed a new coaching staff and team environment that wanted to win and is goal-oriented,” said Campion. “My previous school was not the right environment for me and the goals that I had.”

Despite its many benefits, the transfer portal brings uncertainty, stress of an unknown destination, pressure on other student-athletes who are also transfer candidates and scholarship issues.

“Overall, it is definitely a difficult process, but I think the outcome of finding a place that is well suited to you is more important than all the uncertainties,” said Campion.

A challenge athletes commonly face is having a good relationship with coaches. Coaches are a vital part of how the team cooperates, and disagreements could put a strain on the team.

“Coaches are a really big aspect of it, and I think if you don’t get along with them, that can really take a big toll on your mental health and not being excited to go to practice,” said Campion. “And that’s something that you have to do every single day, so it’s super important that you enjoy what you’re doing,” said Campion.

The process seemed to pay off for Campion, as she was able to find a school that fit her best interests.

“The transfer portal was a big thing for me just to prioritize myself and my happiness and find somewhere that I feel the most me in,” said Campion.

Tara Oper, a women’s soccer player for the Broncos, transferred from the University of Idaho, admitting that one coach made her dislike the sport and wanted to come back home.

“I really wanted to go here — good academics, good soccer — and it’s close to home, so all my family could be there,” said Oper.

In contrast to Campion, Oper had a smooth process meeting the deadline and had assistance from athletic and academic coordinators.

“I was in the portal for about two to three weeks,” said Oper. “And then, I found where I wanted to go, so it was a smooth process

Getting to play immediately made it easy for Oper to fall back in love with the sport.

“I was able to practice and play right away with the team as long as I got my forms submitted and had enough credits that transferred over,” said Oper. “It was really nice because I wanted a fresh new start with a new school, a new team, new coaches and just being able to play right away really helped out a lot.”

Transferring gave Oper the chance to rediscover her love for the game and provided her with a fresh start.

“Overall, people think transferring is scary, but it really wasn’t,” said Oper. “And if you’re thinking about transferring, I say do it because if you’re thinking about it, that means that something is wrong.”

With these new guidelines in place, transfer athletes like Oper and Campion have been given a new opportunity to shine for the Broncos this season.

Feature image courtesy of Tara Oper

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