The NCAA announces new transfer portal windows designed to immediately slow activity

The transfer scene in college athletics turned again Wednesday when the NCAA Division I Board of Directors approved transfer windows for the transfer gate.

The windows go into effect immediately, meaning business is closed along the transfer gate as the 2022 college football season begins. The transfer gate goes into effect in October 2018. Collegiate athletes in all sports will continue to qualify immediately the first time they transfer in them, provided that they notify their schools in writing within their designated relocation notification windows.

The window applies to all sports. Here’s more from the NCAA press release:

The legislation also establishes exceptions to the new windows for student-athletes who have undergone head coach changes or athletics aid has been reduced, eliminated, or not renewed.

Fall Sports: A 45-day window starting from the day after the tournaments in their sport are selected, or May 1-15. Reasonable accommodation will be provided to participants in the football subdivision and football championship games.

Winter Sports: A 60-day window starting on the day following the selection of tournaments in the sport.
Spring Sports: December 1-15, or a 45-day window beginning the day after selections in sports.

Those in college football circles have largely pushed for transfer windows. Let’s break down what this change means for the player’s movement forward.

Move Windows Slow Things Down

Under previous transfer rules, players were allowed to enter the portal at any time of the year. All they had to do was put the order into compliance. There were some restrictions designed to limit movement, specifically the May 1 NCAA date that players had to enter to use the one-time transfer exemption. But even this did little to resolve the post-spring transfer movement in which players could move in and request a waiver from the NCAA to play immediately; It was awarded 86.5% in 2021, according to NCAA data.

This created an environment in which messing was rife, and coaches had no real control over the state of their roster. The team may have a predictable two-deep start in the spring ball only to lose several starters to the gate in late April. It happened.

That’s why transfer windows were a popular request from college football coaches.

These transfer windows will come in at normal times, after the completion of the regular/post-season and after the completion of spring training. The idea of ​​these windows is for players to assess where they are sitting in the context of the team roster and make an informed decision, at the same time, giving coaches a more realistic idea of ​​what the team will look like without fear of losing someone at a time when they can’t replace them.

Is this really going to be a slow mess? Opinions among the people I spoke to in college athletics are mixed. But this is an effort by the NCAA to limit an open-door policy that appears to have limited the list’s administration since the one-time transfer exemption was passed.

How busy are those moving windows?

Between FBS and FCS there can be upwards of 5,000 players easily entering the gate between these two transfer windows. There were just over 5,000 during the 2021-22 cycles, and there are several factors that could see this number continue to rise:

  • There are still many COVID-19 superstars left – the 2018, 2019 and 2020 seasons still have an extra year to draw from – left in college football, which adds thousands of players to the potential transfer pool.
  • Perhaps most importantly, teams can no longer accommodate 25 players per tournament. Due to a recent NCAA rule change, schools are allowed to enroll in a maximum of 85 scholarships each year. This is a massive change that will see teams sign more players than usual per tournament as they maximize their rosters.

These factors that occur in the concert will lead to a massive influx of players entering the portal at the same time. It will be like your favorite sport free agency period on your favorite wrestler’s favorite steroid.

Who Moves Windows Help and Hurts?

As always, the little guy will feel the brunt of these changes.

Transfer windows mean that there will be a large influx of players in the portal at once. These players still need to be discovered and vetted before the team can bid. Schools with a large staffing–think Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia–have a large pool of analysts and scouts who can grind the bar all season in preparation for potential transfers. These schools will already have tiered players and can move on to offer a potential addition quickly.

Schools with smaller budgets are not so lucky. Many programs, especially at the group of five level, have individual player managements. These schools will now have to screen thousands of potential players within a few weeks. Before, these entries were spread over months out of season.

Ultimately, these schools are always inherently disadvantaged in recruiting prospects against schools that have more resources. But in a transportation environment where speed – first supply is very important to transfers – and the ability to mine rough diamonds is critical, the gap between resource-rich schools and resource-needed schools will only grow.

On the other hand, smaller schools can now avoid having their listings poached by major schools looking to fill a gap at a random spot in the off-season. So there is some push and pull with this shift.

As for timing windows, everyone will be on the same schedule, eliminating the advantages schools previously had with the natural timing of their academic calendars.

Teams may be more selective

It’s easy to overlook among all the other news, but there was a noticeable change outside the windows in the press release: Schools will now be required to retain transfer athletes on the scholarship by completing their eligibility for five years or even finishing their bachelor’s degree. There is also an exception if the player becomes a professional or if he chooses to move again.

This is a notable change, particularly in the athletics scene where many scholarships are renewed on an annual basis.

Now, if a school makes a transfer and they don’t make it work, they should still be on scholarship. This is a huge problem, spot one out of 85 on the list. And if a few errors accumulate, it can be a real obstacle to managing the list. Due to this change, schools will have to be more selective than ever when adding a player through the portal.


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