The NCAA is on the verge of taking some pressure off of coaches' shoulders in regards to roster management. Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated reports that the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee is ironing out final details of a one-year temporary waiver allowing schools to replace any player who transfers out of the program with the addition of new signee. A cap on the policy is expected to be installed, but the committee has not settled on the final number, according to the report. The current limit calls for 25 players per class.
Expanding the class limit is just one of multiple proposals on the table. Others include expanding the total number of signees and limiting high school signees to 25 while allowing for an additional number of scholarships to be granted to transfer players.
Roster management has always been a massive issue for college football coaches, and that has become even tougher over the last decade due to an increased number of transfers. It'll be even more difficult moving forward due to the one-time transfer rule, name, image and likeness opportunities at other schools and the free year of eligibility granted by the NCAA in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We want to maintain the ability to recruit high school players," said American Football Coaches Association executive director Todd Berry. "If we don't have any corrective legislation, people aren't going to do that. We're trying to maintain high school recruitment and make sure universities hard hit by losses to the transfer portal are OK."
Moving forward with the proposal would be another sign that the NCAA is doing its best to keep some structure in this rapidly evolving time in college athletics. Players in fall and winter sports must enter the transfer portal by May 1 in order to take advantage of the free one-time transfer rule. That deadline is July 1 for athletes in spring sports.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey commented on the challenges of roster management at SEC Media Days in July.
"We also have to understand how to support an environment that provides more flexibility, permits legitimate transfers, while holding to account those who tamper and want to turn college rosters into their personal recruiting grounds," he said.
The committee is expected to meet next week to discuss the issue and potentially approve a temporary policy.