"It's never going to be the same, but it doesn't have to be the way that it is." SEC commissioner Greg Sankey opened the week with those words, and on Wednesday evening we saw the first inkling of them becoming true. The wide-open, no regulation, no guardrails era of college football will soon have at least some guardrails.
The NCAA Division I Council endorsed a proposal that would limit the Transfer Portal to two windows: 45 days "beginning the day following the championship selection" and then May 1 to May 15, for a total of 60 days.
For the 2022 season, Championship Saturday is Dec. 3, Selection Sunday is Dec. 4, and so Dec. 5 would become Portal Monday. The Portal would remain open through Jan. 18, and then close until the end of April. In theory, any players entering the Portal on any of the other 305 days in the year would need a waiver to become eligible for the following season.
For personnel professionals tasked with tracking the Portal, cutting it down to two windows is a pick-your-poison scenario. More than 1,400 Division I players entered the Portal in 2020-21, and if your job is to know every single one of them, the Portal being open all fall might be a blessing in disguise. The drip drip drip of players trickling into the Portal might be annoying, like a ringing in your ears that won't go away, but at least that's manageable. If the same number of players enter the Portal in 2022-23, and the Portal is open for a mere 60 days, that's an average of nearly 24 new players per day. The drip, drip, drip of the faucet would become a firehose.
Of course, the Transformation Committee's thinking, the brain behind this proposal, is that closing the Portal until the Monday after the regular season ends would protect players from themselves, barring them from a rash decision with long-term negative consequences. And that may very well happen. But December and January were already the busiest months on a calendar that was open nearly 24/7.
Those already busy months could become even busier soon.
Also, there's this:
Additionally, schools that accept four-year transfer students receiving financial aid will be required to provide financial aid to the student-athlete through the completion of the student's five-year period of eligibility or undergraduate graduation, whichever comes first, unless the student transfers again or enters a professional draft. The student would continue to count against roster and financial aid limits unless the student is medically disqualified, exhausts eligibility, transfers or enters a professional draft.
The proposal will go before the Division I Board of Directors for final approval next month.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.