The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Monday afternoon that it supports an NCAA proposal to allow a one-time transfer opportunity for all student-athletes, regardless of sport.
The league came to this conclusion last week during its winter meetings in Greensboro, North Carolina. The league’s athletic directors and administrators were on hand for the three-day meetings which were held Feb. 12-14.
“During the league’s annual winter meetings, the ACC discussed the transfer environment and unanimously concluded that as a matter of principle we support a one-time transfer opportunity for all student-athletes, regardless of sport. As a conference, we look forward to continuing the discussion nationally,” the ACC announced in a formal statement.
The ACC is the second Power 5 Conference to say it supports a one-time transfer opportunity. Last year, the Big Ten came out with a similar proposal to the NCAA. Thus far, the NCAA has not acted on the ideas, but with the ACC lending its support to the idea, this movement is sure to make its rounds through all the league meetings the rest of the winter and spring.
One guy who is probably not surprised by the news is Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. He predicted in 2018 that transfer reform will allow student-athletes to transfer without much restriction.
Swinney does not have an issue with a student-athlete wanting to transfer if that is what he or she truly wants to do. However, he did indicate there needs to be some kind of order.
“I think at the end of the day, you want to do what is best for the student athletes when at all possible, but certainly you want to maintain some type of order,” Swinney said to The Clemson Insider on May 15, 2018. “We will see where it all goes, but there will definitely be some change.”
Swinney admitted he has no issues with a player wanting to transfer once they graduate from college. He feels like they can go and play wherever they want to play when they are in graduate school.
“If a young man earns his degree, then hey, you wish him well and let him move on to a different situation,” the Clemson coach said. “Sometimes you have a kid that may want to transfer for a lot of different reasons.”
In 2018, the NCAA changed its redshirt rules which subsequently changed the way players, who may feel they are not playing enough, viewed transferring to another school. The NCAA also loosened its transfer rules, allowing players more freedom to go where they want and, in some cases, receiving immediate eligibility based on their reasons for leaving.
Later that year, after the fourth game of the season, Clemson became the first team to feel the effects of the new rules, when former quarterback Kelly Bryant left the program once he was told Trevor Lawrence was going to be the starting quarterback for their Week 5 game against Syracuse.
Bryant’s departure came as a surprise to everyone in the Clemson program.
“To be honest with you, I had not even thought about Kelly leaving until he came in here and said he was leaving,” Swinney said during his Sunday teleconference on September 20, 2019. “That never even crossed my mind. I just did what I thought was right for the team.
“Certainly, I guess, some schools will say let’s make sure we play these guys, but I just don’t think that way. I just think you do what is right and sometimes doing what is right is not the easy thing to do.”
How does Swinney and Clemson handle the transfer portal and other transfer situations these days.
“I don’t really try to handle it to be honest with you,” he said. “I just run the team and do what is best for the team. If someone decides to leave … and to be honest with you, I never thought about it (in 2018). I know everybody gave me a lot of credit and said I was such a nice guy and I did not have to do it.
“But I don’t really have a plan. My plan is to just get the team ready week in and week out and play the guys that I think deserve to play and I don’t really get into all of those games and all of that stuff. If that is the new world order and every year you are going to have someone after four games that decides they want to leave, then you just deal with it and you keep moving forward.”
Now Swinney and other coaches might have to deal with a new problem … a one-time transfer opportunity.
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