When he decided to transfer from Clemson, defensive tackle Josh Belk was afforded the luxury of an unconditional release, which allowed him to easily transfer to South Carolina. His future teammate Ty'Son Williams wasn't so lucky.
His former school, North Carolina, put restrictions on him that included not being able to accept a scholarship at USC for at least a year. He instead came to USC as a walk-on for his first season, with tuition paid for by the GI Bill (his mother is in the military). He was fortunate to have that option, and went on scholarship a year later, but many don't.
After the change, a player will make their intentions known to their coach, and the coach will put the player's name in a transfer database within two business days.
"Once the student-athlete’s name is in the database, other coaches are free to contact that individual," an NCAA release said.
The older system, where coaches had to grant permission to players was designed to discourage tampering. Now the penalty for tampering has been raised.
Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp has not spoken directly to this rule change, but in the past, he's voiced sentiments about making transfers too easy.
“As far as undergraduate transfers, that’s something that we need to be really careful with,” Muschamp said. “You’re talking in terms of free agency. If you want to do that, there will be coaches recruiting off your campus. I’ll be honest. That’s what’s going to happen. I would not be for a situation where a young man could go and play immediately at another school.”