Ivy to Ivy transfer

I need the collective wisdom of this forum. I have a child starting their sophomore year at an ivy where the team culture/behavior poses some serious challenges. So much so that discussion around the viability of transferring has emerged recently. Most of the ivies (and other schools) were very interested during junior/senior year HS recruiting and multiple official visits were offered. The school/team my child is considering transferring to was also very interested during the recruiting phase - the coach was disappointed when they fell out of the running. That team is less competitive and a bit less selective than the current school/team. Child’s academics are fine but not stellar - online instruction was not optimal. What advice do people have regarding the topic of an athletic recruit transferring with the intent of continued sport participation?

Does your kid like the academics and social atmosphere at current school? If yes, have they considered dropping out of the competitive team and playing at a club level if possible? Is there significant athletic scholarship money involved that would be lost? Just trying to understand the situation better.

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Sorry to hear your child is in this situation. I don’t have any first hand experience with Ivy transfers but I believe before initiating contact with other coaches your child would need to be in the transfer portal. The compliance officer at the school could help with the rules and logistics. I don’t think there is a way to seriously explore options without the current coach becoming aware.

As far as logistics for admission to another Ivy as a transfer with coach support, I don’t know that either. But I’ve seen a few athlete transfers come into the Ivy League and my impression is that coaches can definitely help with that. Others might have more info.

I guess the big question is whether the school is a good academic and social fit without the sport. If so, dropping to club play is worth considering. Depending on the school, I’d consider whether there’s a system of residential, college, or peer advisors in place that could help your child put these issues in perspective and consider pros and cons of different options.

It’s pretty early in the year, and of course last year was a pretty strange one to develop team bonds. So depending on the nature of the issue, it’s possible things will evolve in a positive direction with a more typical environment going forward.

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As always, politeperson has given good advice. I have also seen some athletes transfer in to Ivies, but never Ivy to Ivy. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, though. The catch 22 is there is no way to explore options without being in the portal, and some coaches will not welcome you back once you go on the portal. That might mean staying without playing, or transferring to a non-Ivy school if there are not spots available for your athlete. The situation is further complicated by a log jam from extra eligibility due to the covid year.


What @LurkerJoe said is correct. Additionally, I am not going to ask what sport your child plays but with the exception of revenue sports, it is very hard to receive transfer support for any other sport unless it is a priority sport. Football and basketball are always the top two priorities though some schools that are known for sports may be more open to transfers. Your child and possibly you know which school or schools prioritize your sport more than others. Have you considered waiting out the year as many people were not happy with online school and if the school was in person, the experience was obviously limiting. Finally, looking at rosters of other schools for the same sport to see if they have any transfers on the roster could be an indicator and the better your child is at their sport, the better chance the Coach will successfully push for admissions to give them a spot.

This is very helpful advice. No scholarship money in play. Academics and social atmosphere are a pretty good fit. Understand the point re revenue vs. non-revenue sports. I don’t think club level would be appealing. Sounds like there is no meaningful way to seriously explore options without essentially going public by being in the transfer portal. The past 2 years have certainly introduced additional complexity to say the least. Insights much appreciated.