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HUNTINGTON — With the passage of a new one-time transfer rule by the NCAA, it was only a matter of time before the effects of that decision trickled down to Marshall University, athletic administrators said Thursday.

“That’s a big change that is going to impact Marshall athletics in the future both with kids leaving and kids coming in,” Marshall University Associate Director of Athletics Jeff O’Malley said during a Board of Governors Athletic Committee meeting last week.

“We have sixty-some student athlete’s in the transfer portal right now, which is up between 15-20 from this time last year,” he added.

That includes transfers from all NCAA sanctioned athletic teams at the university and reflects a nation-wide trend of student-athletes utilizing the transfer portal to give themselves a chance to continue or revive their collegiate careers.

On Thursday, the NCAA made the new rule official, 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.

Athletic Director Mike Hamrick said each athlete that has chosen to leave Marshall completes an exit survey. One member of the Board of Governors asked if those surveys would ever be made public, but Hamrick maintained that the reason for their decisions should stay between the athlete and the coach.

Head football coach Charles Huff, in his brief time at Marshall, said rarely has he seen a student transfer because of disdain toward the university or football program, but that those decision rest heavy on other factors.

“Some of mine are guys who have already graduated, have an extra year and realize they are gonna be third or second on the depth chart and already have degrees from Marshall and are saying ‘I’m gonna go play somewhere else.’”

The men’s basketball team also saw some athletes take advantage of the transfer portal, losing three from their roster last season. Head coach Dan D’Antoni said each had a ‘good’ reason to leave.

“I can tell you, and I’m not going to put names with them but one was about playing time. Two of them had been here for four or five years and they wanted to try (somewhere else). It was a good reason to leave. It wasn’t that Marshall is bad.”

A decision to enter the transfer portal doesn’t prevent a student athlete from returning to Marshall, but Hamrick said in most cases the decision becomes a mutual one after a meeting with the coach.

“In all cases we’ve allowed our coaches to make that decision,” Hamrick said. “In most cases, our coaches are saying, ‘Once you enter that portal, see ya.’”

Luke Creasy is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook @HDcreasy or reach him by phone at 304-526-2800.

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