SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — College football coaches will offer late fall and spring transfer windows to help with roster management around the transfer portal.
Todd Berry, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, said on Tuesday his group wanted two transfer windows for players to enter their names into the portal: one from the last Sunday in November until the early signing date in mid-December, and another from April 15 to May 1. Both windows would coincide with periods of contact in recruitment. Players would not be required to transfer, only to enter the portal during designated time periods.
The NCAA transfer portal, which debuted in October 2018, does not currently have a specific move window. The only deadline is that players must notify schools that they are entering the portal by May 1 of each school year. Berry noted that AFCA members had proposed transfer windows before the portal went into effect, but they weren’t adopted.
“We knew there would be very little testing, but at least if we had a window, then student-athletes could be like, ‘Is this a good decision? Because this is my competition. Now I know what the other competition is because we’re all in the window at the same time,” Berry told ESPN. “It might change some perspectives. They must be able to make informed decisions.
“We are working on a window concept that I think will be very good for the student-athlete, to give them those opportunities and to provide the universities, their team and their teammates with a little more clarity on the positions and recruiting and that sort of thing.”
Berry said the current windowless portal setup has created “turmoil” and “chaos” with list management. He thinks the coaches’ proposal will likely go to the NCAA’s Division I Football Oversight Committee and the Division I Transformation Committee. A source from the Football Oversight Committee told ESPN that the transfer windows are “inevitable”.
Arizona coach Jedd Fisch said multiple transfer windows are important to help both athletes and coaches.
“There are two legitimate windows: after the season and after the spring [practice]”, Fisch told ESPN. “To assume that they can make a decision after only one season, you assume that recruitment will not play a role. You gotta see who they signed, what the recruiting class was like, and then the spring ball, which came early. “I thought I was second back but I’m really fourth back.” Who left earlier?
“You have to give them that opportunity.”
Berry said the AFCA also supports eliminating the maximum of 25 initial scholarship coaches allowed during each recruiting class, saying teams should be allowed to reach the 85 scholarship limit on their own schedule. Berry mentioned a school that has as few as 62 scholarship players in total, and “with all the chaos” some teams have so many holes on their roster that they don’t have enough players in certain positions.
By keeping the number of annual official visits at 56, teams would be prevented from knocking down their entire rosters.
“We have to lose [25 initial scholarships per year] and we have to create portal windows, and then we have to create a recruiting schedule that understands that part of it will be high school and part of it will be transfers,” Berry said. “And you have two transfer windows to work around. And so we’re going to have to rework the schedule, but first we need to know if we can get the portal windows in place.”