How to Get Recruited
NCAA Eligibility and Rules
NCAA Transfer Portal

NCAA Transfer Portal

Stay on top of important NCAA transfer rules and deadlines in your sport.

The Transfer Portal has become increasingly popular following recent changes to NCAA rules. Student-athletes are no longer required to sit out their first year after transferring for the first time, which has made it increasingly compelling for student-athletes to enter the portal if they are unhappy at their school or not getting the desired amount of playing time. If you feel that the program you are playing for does not fit your needs as a student-athlete, it may make sense to begin exploring other programs to see if transferring is the right decision for you.

How to Use the NCAA Transfer Portal

If you feel the program you are playing for is not the right fit for you, it’s important to take the following steps before contacting other schools.

1 - Do Your Homework

You must be 100% sure you're ready to transfer and know the transfer window for your sport.

  • If you are currently receiving financial aid of any type, make sure you're aware of the terms. If you are on an athletic scholarship when you enter the Transfer Portal and do not get picked up by another school, your scholarship status could be at risk as early as the following term. Many scholarships do not transfer across schools, so make sure you're aware of the costs you may be on the hook for at a new school if you don't receive the same aid. Learn more about financial aid considerations in the section Most Common Transfer Scenarios below.
  • Identify the upcoming transfer window for your sport. You can only enter the transfer portal during your sport's specified transfer window, which can be found in the When Can I Enter the Transfer Portal section below.
  • Make sure your SportsRecruits profile is up-to-date with recent video. When a college coach finds an athlete in the Transfer Portal and wants to learn more, they'll search for more information about you. Make sure your online profile is in check!

2 - Provide Notice of Transfer

Before initiating communications with other programs, you must inform your current coach of your intent to transfer and secure a permission-to-contact letter from your athletic department or compliance office. Make sure you plan ahead and begin this process early. Once these steps are approved, you can begin contacting other programs. 

3 - Enter the Transfer Portal or Complete the Self-Release Form

Once this waiver is approved, you must register with the NCAA Transfer Portal (for transfers outside of your current division) or fill out the NCAA Division III Release form (for transfers within Division III).

Other Things to Consider Before Entering the Portal

Before entering the Transfer Portal, you must be 100% sure you’d like to transfer. It's important to consider the following:

  • Athletes must receive notice that they successfully made it into the Transfer Portal before initiating transfer discussions with other schools.
  • Entering the Transfer Portal does not guarantee transfer eligibility. Athletes must be in good academic standing without a history of serious disciplinary action.
  • Entering the Transfer Portal may impact your current scholarship as early as the next term, even if you do not end up transferring out.
  • Scholarships do not always transfer across schools. Before accepting a transfer offer, make sure you speak to the coaches of the program you want to transfer to and determine whether transferring is financially feasible for your family.

Continuing Athletics After Junior College

Student-athletes looking to transfer from a 2-year college to a 4-year program do not need to enter the transfer portal.

If you decide to transfer and are on an athletic scholarship, your school cannot immediately revoke your scholarship. However, it's important to know that your coach can take away your athletic scholarship the following semester. This could happen if there was another athlete on the team in need of the aid. It will be important to have an open line of communication with your coach throughout this process. 

Entering the transfer portal does not automatically mean you will be picked up by another school that semester. If you cannot transfer in the same semester you enter the portal, you need to be ready to cover the cost of tuition without your athletic scholarship, should it be reassigned to another teammate.

When Can I Enter the Transfer Portal?

It’s important to keep in mind the specific time of year you can enter the NCAA Transfer Portal. The timing is entirely dependent on the sport you play. 

  • Fall Sports: This period lasts for 30 days in the fall, beginning 7 days after your given sport’s championship selection. It opens again for 15 days in the spring, from May 1st to May 15th. 
  • Winter Sports: These sports can enter the portal during a 45-day day period, starting 7 days after the championships selection.
  • Spring Sports: These sports can enter the portal during a 30-day period in the spring. This 30-day period starts 7 days after your sport's champions selection. It reopens again for 15 days in the fall, from December 1 to December 15. 

Remember that college coaches can recruit student-athletes year-round within the Transfer Portal. The dates listed above are specific to the periods when student-athletes are allowed to enter the Transfer Portal. Once you enter the Transfer Portal, you can stay as long as you wish, and remove yourself at any time. 

After a student-athlete enters the Transfer Portal, college coaches may search for more information about them and contact that athlete with interest in adding them to their program. Make sure your SportsRecruits profile is current with recent videos showcasing your skills, as college coaches use SportsRecruits to discover potential transfers to add to their team.  Remember, it is not advantageous to sit back and wait. If you have a school in mind, take the time to reach out to them and introduce yourself.


Redshirting is when you are a part of a team and do not use a year of eligibility. You can typically still practice with your team and be involved in other team activities, but you cannot compete for your team competitively. A student-athlete may fit into two distinct redshirt categories: medical and academic.

A medical redshirt is when you lose a year of competition due to injury but can get that year of eligibility back. The NCAA Rule is that the injury must have occurred in the first half of the season and that the athlete competed in 30% or less of the team’s games. 

An academic redshirt is when a student-athlete does not have the minimum 2.3 GPA to compete athletically. Remember that a student-athlete must have above a 2.0 GPA to qualify for and receive an athletic scholarship. 

In 2021, the NCAA released a rule that student-athletes no longer need to redshirt in their first year after transferring. There are specific qualifications a student-athlete needs to meet to play immediately after transferring to a new college. You can find those qualifications here. Conversely, if a student-athlete has transferred multiple times, they must redshirt the first year at their new program.

Each student-athlete receives four years of athletic eligibility to play their sport in college. You can use your eligibility for NCAA Division I programs in 5 years. This 5-year span starts when you become a full-time student. For NCAA Division II and Division III Schools, your eligibility also begins when you are a full-time student but it can be paused at any time when you are not officially a full-time student. 

Most Common Transfer Scenarios

The transfer process will look a bit different depending on the type of transfer. A few of the most common scenarios are outlined below.

Transferring Between NCAA DI Programs

Student-athletes who wish to transfer from one DI program to another should first complete the Transfer Module and notify their school in writing that they intend to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal. This written notice formally kicks off the transfer process and ensures compliance with NCAA Regulations. In return, the school will provide written confirmation if you are eligible to enter the portal.

Once you obtain this written notice from your school’s designated administrator, you can access the NCAA Transfer Portal. Note that athletes cannot access the portal until they’ve received this notice. Make sure your SportsRecruits profile is up-to-date and you have a recent video published before entering the Transfer Portal. Once you are on the portal, coaches may head to your profile to learn more and will not be able to evaluate you effectively without up-to-date information.

Remember to hold off on initiating conversations with other schools until you’ve received written notice confirming you’re in the Transfer Portal. If you begin contacting other programs before this, you run the risk of violating NCAA regulations and rules, which could hurt your chances of transferring. Once you have received this notice, coaches from other schools may reach out to express interest and discuss potential transfer opportunities.

Transferring to Another NCAA DIII Program

If you currently play at an NCAA Division III program and wish to transfer to another DIII, the only requirement is to fill out the NCAA Division III Self-Release form. You will want to work with your current school’s athletic department and the prospective school you wish to transfer to in order to ensure you’re following all the required administrative procedures.

Transferring from NCAA DIII to DI or DII

Division III athletes intending to transfer to DI or DII typically kick off the transfer process by providing written notice to their coach and/or athletic department of their intent to transfer and receiving written permission to contact. From there, they’ll need to obtain an NCAA Eligibility Number, regardless of the division to which they are transferring. From there, DIII athletes must then enter the NCAA Transfer Portal if they wish to transfer to a DII program. Athletes wishing to transfer from DIII to DI do not need to enter the Transfer Portal. 

Financial Aid Considerations

Before transferring to another school, it’s important to know that academic scholarships or need-based aid typically provided to DIII athletes may not transfer. However, unlike DIII, both DI and DII programs can offer athletic scholarships. Athletes should speak to the coaches and financial aid offices at schools they’re considering to understand what type of aid package they can expect.

Review the transfer procedures for the NCAA Division I and NCAA Division II to ensure you are taking the right steps to be successful in your transfer process. 

Transferring from NAIA to NCAA

If you plan to transfer from an NAIA school to an NCAA DI or DII school, you won't have to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal. However, you will need to obtain your NCAA Eligibility Number if you’re transferring to a DI or DII.  Without it, NCAA coaches cannot contact you. To get this number, you must have completed your NCAA-approved core courses and have the required GPA. To register for your NCAA Eligibility Number, go to the NCAA Eligibility Center. 

If you plan to transfer from an NAIA school to an NCAA DIII program, it’s important to know each program has specific requirements. Reach out to the DIII schools you’re interested in to make sure you are eligible. 

Transferring from a 2-Year College to NCAA

If you are looking to transfer to an NCAA DI or DII program from a Junior College, you will not need to enter the NCAA Transfer portal, however, you must still obtain your NCAA Eligibility Number. To get this number, you must have completed the NCAA-approved core course load. To register for your NCAA Eligibility Number, go to the NCAA Eligibility Center. 

NCAA Division III programs have specific eligibility requirements that vary by school. We recommend contacting a representative at the school to determine your eligibility.

Other Transfer Requirements & Rules

How Many Times Can You Transfer Colleges?

Student-athletes are allowed to transfer as many times as they wish. That being said, you could be required to serve a penalty after your first transfer. For example, if you have transferred a second time to a four-year university, you may need to redshirt your first year at that program. Also, remember that you only have 4 years of eligibility, meaning you are only allowed to compete in collegiate games over four years. 

GPA Requirements to Transfer 

Most colleges require at least a 2.0 GPA to be eligible to transfer. However, the better your grades are, the more appealing you are to prospective programs. 

NCAA Transfer Rules for Graduate-Students

Following the revisions to transfer rules in 2022, student-athletes were mandated to enter the Transfer Portal within sport-specific windows. Post-graduate students were considered exempt from following those windows.

Graduate students must abide by the May 1st deadline for Fall and Winter sports, and July 1st for Spring sports. 

Other requirements for graduate students include having one year of eligibility from your 5 year-span, and you must graduate from that specific school. 


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