"The change promotes not only fairness for college athletes, but also their health and well-being", said Miami (Florida) athletic director Blake James, who doubles as the chair of the Division I council.
According to the ACC's proposal: "The current rule often places coaches in a hard position to decide whether to play a student-athlete in a limited amount of competition or to preserve the student-athlete's season of eligibility".
The idea behind the ruling is to allow players to keep a year of eligibility should they suffer a serious injury or "other factors" that limit them to a small number of games.
The NCAA's Transfer Working Group proposed the change in fall 2017 in an attempt to separate a student-athlete's interest in transferring to a new school from the process of receiving a scholarship at the new school. The change will come with stricter tampering rules to help appease coaches who worry illegal recruiting could rise.
As of now, this rule does not apply to sports other than college football, but the Division I Student-Athlete Experience Committee is examining "how a similar concept could be applied to other sports, including what number of games would be appropriate", according to the NCAA's release.
The NCAA's Division I Council approved the new rule this week. The new rule will go into effect during the upcoming, 2018-19 season. "This new system allows a student to inform his or her current school of a desire to transfer, then requires that school to enter the student's name into a national transfer database within two business days". The rule changes prevents coaches and administrators from preventing athletes to contact certain schools. If he played in one more game, he would not have been eligible for a medical redshirt.
"This creates a safe place for student-athletes to have a conversation with their coaches and makes the whole process more transparent", former Coastal Carolina football player Nicholas Clark said in the NCAA statement. "It's a win for the student-athlete, and our coaches are tremendously excited about this opportunity". "This will clean the process up and give more influence and flexibility to the student-athlete". There's still more work left to be done as there are a handful of other proposals on the table for Power Five conferences to vote on in the coming weeks that affect things like scholarships and financial aid.
Previously, players that competed in any games lost a full year of eligibility unless they suffered an injury.