CLEMSON — While college sports fans and media members, alike, reacted to the NCAA's new rule on athlete transfers Wednesday, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney believes the hoopla is much ado about nothing.
The NCAA officially passed its transfer reform rule, which will come into effect Oct. 15, allowing college athletes to transfer to and receive financial aid from another school without permission from their current coach or school.
Swinney, speaking to reporters at his football camp in Clemson on Wednesday, said the new rule will have minimal impact on the game. In the past, coaches were allowed to block players from transferring to certain schools, but Swinney said the banned list of schools was far from extravagant.
"I don't think it's going to have much of an impact," he said. "In the past, there were few restrictions, you might have 10 schools you might try to (block) — schools on your schedule that year. That was kind of the standard process, but that's really the only change."
Several players have either transferred from Clemson this offseason or announced their decision to do so, including former quarterbacks Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson, now at Jacksonville State and Northwestern, respectively, and defensive tackle Josh Belk, who will continue his career at South Carolina.
Generally, when it's first announced a player will leave their program, a handful of programs are rumored as possible destinations. Said student-athlete may also take a few visits in what's essentially their second run at recruitment.
Swinney, however, hinted that those visits and rumors are, more often than not, more fluff than substance and players rarely asked permission to transfer in the past.
"They don't have to come and ask you, they just go," he said. "But usually they don't ask you anyway, they already know where they're going before they get to that point. I don't have a problem with it at all, it's what it is.
"I don't have a problem with it. I just focus on the ones here."
The ones here at quarterback are Kelly Bryant, Trevor Lawrence, Chase Brice and newcomer Ben Batson who was originally going to play safety for the Tigers, but the former Dorman standout will continue his career behind center.
"Now, we have three that I think we can win with," Swinney said.
"We had four that I felt like we could win with. Now we have three."
The NCAA also announced a rule allowing Division-I college football players to play in as many as four games in a season without exhausting their eligibility for the year, protecting players if they're unable to play due to injury or "other factors."
Swinney is all for that rule.
“That is awesome! Are you kidding me,” Swinney said.
“The fact that you have a chance to maybe play a kid that you know you want to redshirt, but maybe it is a home game or something and you get an opportunity to get him a little bit of experience or you have a guy that is not ready but all of sudden you have a couple of injuries and by the end of the year, maybe you have three games left, and maybe a guy can play and finish it out and not lose a whole year of eligibility. Maybe something in the bowl situation where maybe you have some injuries or whatever… I think it is great for the health of the student athletes and all of those other reasons we talked about.”