On Wednesday, it was announced that former five-star and current Alabama backup quarterback Blake Barnett would be seeking a midseason transfer after losing his starting job to Jalen Hurts. Because he is leaving a FBS program and likely going to another, it was believed that he would have to sit out the 2017 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
However, there is an interesting loophole that would allow Barnett to play in the 2017 season instead of sitting out and losing a year of eligibility.
It is a rule that applies to Barnett being considered a 4-2-4 transfer, a player that goes from a four-year institution to a two-year junior college and back to another four-institution.
247Sports has more information on his situation:
“According to bylaw 14.5.6 in the NCAA transfer guide, Barnett as a 4-2-4 transfer (four-year institution, to a junior college, and back to a four-year institution), can be eligible one calendar year from the date of his transfer from Alabama so long as he graduates with a GPA above 2.5 over an average of 12 hours per term at the certifying institution of Barnett’s choosing.”
Essentially, if Barnett leaves Alabama within the next few days and then enrolls at a junior college for the next few semesters and maintains a 2.5 GPA or better, he would be eligible to play Week 5 of the 2017 season at the new FBS school.
“I’ve never seen this situation before first-hand,” a compliance source told 247Sports. “Because it’s so rare for somebody to leave in the middle of the season.”
Because Barnett enrolled at Alabama early and took a redshirt last year, he is already way ahead of the curve when it comes to getting his associate’s degree, which only requires about 60 credit hours at a junior college. So, it certainly seems like the quarterback has a good shot at being able to play at the FBS level in 2017 and would have at least two years of eligibility left going into the 2018 season.
Whoever ends up getting Barnett will have a talented player on their hands, despite his early season struggles. He has thrown for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
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