Athletic Recruiting

Why Should College Athletes Transfer Programs?

(Flickr - Xperia2Day)

(Flickr – Xperia2Day)

Even if you aren’t a Rams, Chargers or Raiders fan, you’ve probably been following the recent negotiations to bring at least the St. Louis Rams — and possibly one of the others — to Los Angeles.

Any change to a major team’s venue can shake up not just the franchise, but the whole league. For the right to switch locations, the Rams are putting down a cool $550 million as one lump sum.

And for now they’ll be alone, but negotiations with the Chargers to share a stadium could last another year.

Moving any team is hard for the fans and community that’s supported them — not to mention how it must feel to be one of the Rams switching. (You can see a round-up of the bittersweet tweets players had for fans over on Sports Illustrated.)

We’re getting into the time of year where student-athletes also start considering transfers. Whether it’s because they’ve realized their school isn’t the right social or academic fit, or they aren’t quite as happy on the roster as they thought they would be, or because it’s the end of two-year junior college degree, college athletes transfer for a number of valid reasons.

But they have just as many regulations to keep in mind, especially regarding what conferences their current and target transfer schools are in. For example, many college athletes might not know that they are required to sit out for a full sports season after transferring, to make sure they have adjusted academically to their new school. (There are exceptions to this, particularly if you do not play Division I football, basketball, men’s ice hockey or baseball.)

You can read more about specific NCAA transfer regulations on their website. Today, we thought we’d outline some of the reasons why college athletes want to transfer.

College athletes transfer when they’re not happy.

For whatever reason, athletes who aren’t happy at their school who still want to play their sport want to move. We get it. That’s why we offer lifetime benefits with transfer assistance to our premium clients; sometimes you just aren’t happy with how things are going at your school.

But the changes of life at college can be stressful for any student — even before considering all the extra commitments and pressures faced by student-athletes.

Before you make the decision to go through the transfer process, think about the reasons why you’re unhappy. Is it possible that you could benefit from some of the mental health programs that your university provides? We recently wrote about the ways that student-athletes should consider what mental health services colleges offer.

College athletes transfer when they aren’t at the right fit.

We spend a lot of time at NCSA Athletic Recruiting talking about the right fit.

Because at the end of the day, you could be the strongest player at your position, or have the fastest time in your race. But if you aren’t happy with all aspects of your college program — academically, socially and athletically — you’re not going to be happy with your place on the roster.

If you’re truly thinking about moving to a new program, research the extensive materials the NCAA offers — or talk to one of our scouts, who know all about the transfer process.

College athletes transfer when they’ve reached the end of their program.

If you’re finishing an associate’s degree at a junior college or community college and want to transfer, you have to know a different set of rules for NCAA DI and DII, whether or not you’re a qualifier or non-qualifier. (You can learn more about the specific rules at AthleticScholarships.net.)

In this case, you might not be unhappy at your junior college at all — you might have had an awesome time. But you’ll still have to make sure that you’ve completed everything you have to at the Eligibility Center, and understand how your transfer will impact how you get to play your sport at your new college.


Our scouts aren’t just for high school student-athletes. We’re here to help you transfer, too. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.