If college football coaches had their way, a change would come in the transition process.
Todd Berry, the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, told ESPN that the AFC will propose implementing specific windows — one in the late fall and one during the spring — where players can put their names into the transfer portal.
The fall window will open on the “last Sunday of November” and run until the start of the early signing period in December. The other window will run from April 15 to May 1. Players will not have to choose a new school during those windows, but these will be the time frames for entering the transfer portal. Both windows correspond to contact periods in college football recruits.
Before the portal officially went into effect on October 15, 2018, college athletes needed permission from their school to request a transfer. With the gate implemented, the athlete now informs the school of his or her decision to relocate, removing the upper hand that schools have long held over athletes hoping to switch schools.
Under current rules, an athlete can enter the gate at any time. For college football players to be eligible immediately at their next school without a waiver, though, they must enter the gate before May 1, the date that coincides with the academic calendar.
According to ESPN, the addition of transfer windows is considered an “inevitable outcome” by some on the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee.
Perry said setting up the current portal without windows created “disruption” and “chaos” with menu management. He believes the coaches’ proposal will likely be sent to the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee and the Division I Transformation Committee. A source on the Football Monitoring Committee told ESPN that transfer periods are “a foregone conclusion”.
Transportation rules have been greatly relaxed in recent years
In pre-gate times, if the player wanted to leave the school, the school—if the player was given permission to contact other schools—could place restrictions on other schools the athlete could talk to.
Often, athletes were restricted from speaking to schools at the same conference or at future schedules. In the months following the implementation of the gate, most conferences relaxed restrictions on transfer within the league.
However, the transfer doors really opened when the NCAA approved a one-time transfer rule, which allows immediate eligibility for first-time transfers to transfer to a new school. Previously, transfers who had not already graduated had to sit for a year before they fit in with their new team.
There is also an NIL component, where the allure of financial gains will likely come with a transfer to a new school.
Why do college football coaches want transition windows?
For coaches, the current relocation has made roster management a logistical nightmare.
With the two proposed windows, players will be able to pursue other opportunities after the regular season and after spring training. From the player’s perspective, you’ll know where you stand on the depth chart and can decide on the best path forward, albeit in a more restricted amount of time.
Coaches will then know what positions they need to handle both in high school recruitment and across the transfer market. There’s also the problem of the constant need to re-recruit your roster throughout the season and beyond, with the threat of a transition constantly looming.
However, the short two-week period can be quite a challenge for the software on the part of the players. For employees whose job it is to scout players out of the gate, sorting through such a massive influx of players available during the transfer window will undoubtedly be a challenge.
At the same time, players don’t have to commit to a new school during those windows. They just have to put their name in the gate. From there, they can take their time and sort out the options available.