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Colleges already adapting to new transfer rules

By RALPH D, RUSSO

AP College Football Writer

As spring practice winds down, Arkansas coach Sam Pittman sees some potential holes in his roster.

Arkansas didn’t use the maximum 25 scholarships this year on its incoming recruits so it has a few left over to hit the transfer market, where there is no longer any question about whether athletes who switch schools will be immediately eligible to compete.

“We might take a tight end,” Pittman said. “The bottom line is whomever we took would have to be a D-lineman or someone with the ball in his hands.”

The NCAA made it official Thursday, announcing the Division I Council had voted to approve a plan that will allow all college athletes to transfer one time as an undergraduate without having to sit out a season.

The so-called one-time exception that has been available to athletes in most college sports for years will now also be available to football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey and baseball players who transfer from one Division I school to another.

It’s a big change, a long time coming and it has some in college sports, especially football, worried about the potential for unintended consequences: Fewer scholarships available to high school recruits. Power programs poaching players from small schools. Rosters turning over quicker than coaches can keep up.

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker is one of many coaches who has already designed his program’s recruiting operation similar to the way pro teams have college scouting for the draft and pro scouting for free agency.

“We have someone that monitors the portal, sits there and presses refresh every 30 minutes,” Tucker said. The Spartans have had more than a dozen players transfer out this offseason and more than a dozen transfer in.