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NCAA announces two impactful rule changes that could impact UND almost immediately

The NCAA announced two rule changes Wednesday that could impact a school such as UND almost immediately.

One of the major moves was a change to college football's redshirt rule to be put in place next season.

The new exception to the redshirt rule allows football players to preserve a season of competition if a player competes in up to four games.

The other major rule change, which begins in October, will allow athletes across all sports the ability to transfer to a different school and receive a scholarship without asking their current school for permission.

This new system allows a student to inform the school of a desire to transfer, then requires that school to enter the athlete's name into a national transfer database within two business days. Once the name is in the database, other coaches are free to contact that individual.

The college football redshirt change would have been beneficial for UND in 2014, when the football program pulled the redshirt on rookie Keaton Studsrud with four games remaining after injuries wiped out the two quarterbacks ahead of Studsrud on the depth chart.

Studsrud started the final four games of the season, going 2-2 in Bubba Schweigert's first season as head coach.

With the new rule, Studsrud would have still been considered a freshman in 2015.

NCAA council chair Blake James, an athletic director at Miami (Florida), said the rule change can benefit both players and coaches.

"This change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being," James said. "Redshirt football student-athletes are more likely to remain engaged with the team, and starters will be less likely to feel pressure to play through injuries. Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition."

The transfer change comes at a time at UND in which transferring is in the public spotlight. The school recently confirmed standout men's basketball player Geno Crandall will pursue a graduate transfer, becoming the third UND player in the last two years to utilize the rule.

The NCAA's news Wednesday doesn't pertain to the graduate transfer rule, but it continues the momentum of loosening transfer restrictions.

According to a release from the NCAA, the previous transfer rule was intended to discourage coaches from recruiting student-athletes from other Division I schools. The rule change ends the controversial practice in which some coaches or administrators would prevent students from having contact with specific schools. Conferences, however, still can make rules that are more restrictive than the national rule.

The proposal adds tampering with a current athlete at another school to the list of potential Level 2 violations, considered a significant breach of conduct.

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department since 2004. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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