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New college football ideas taking shape in response to transfers and NIL

Coaches and admins are certainly reacting to what’s happening

NCAA Football: 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship Press Conference Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The current landscape of college football has Syracuse Orange fans a bit uneasy about the program’s place in a sport where players are coaches salaries and players NIL deals are skyrocketing. As we talked about yesterday, the issues were ignored for too long but now coaches and administrators seem ready to act.

Ohio State AD Gene Smith has come out to suggest that perhaps schools should look to move football out of the NCAA’s control and under the umbrella of the College Football Playoff. The CFP already controls the money and the criteria for determining a national champion so Smith’s idea certainly has merit.

“We [can] create our own rules, create our own governance structure, have our own enforcement, we have our own requirements, whatever that might be,” Smith said. “ ... That might be in the medical space, for example, if a student-athlete is injured and hurt in his or her senior year. You take care of them when they’re done until they’re healed. And we have the funding in place to do that. You don’t touch anything else with the NCAA. You keep the academic requirements in place. The reality is, those schools who offer 85 scholarships in football have made a different commitment and that needs to be addressed.”

A split would allow the FBS programs to set guidelines around issues such as NIL, health coverage, and scholarship limits. It would allow the schools to determine what rules they will enforce (if any) and how they will do so. The biggest change is that it would make passing changes much easier as the non-football D1 schools would be out of the equation.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

We also learned yesterday that college football coaches are pushing for a couple of major changes: the elimination of the 25 initial scholarship limit and the establishment of transfer windows.

Todd Berry, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, said Tuesday his group would like two transfer windows for players to enter their names in the portal: one from the final Sunday in November until the early signing date in mid-December, and another from April 15 to May 1. Both windows would coincide with contact periods in recruiting. Players wouldn’t be required to transfer, only to enter the portal during designated time periods.

The removal of the initial scholarship rule would help as schools continue to navigate the challenges of the extra year of eligibility from 2020-21. The transfer windows would seem to give the coaches a bit more control as players couldn’t come and go at will. However that likely just means that players who are forced to delay their official transfer notice will just use unofficial means to reach out to potential transfer destinations. This is certainly an area where FBS schools could come up with their own rules about tampering in these situations. I would argue that if we just look at Syracuse last year that it might have been better for all parties when Taj Harris and Tommy DeVito were able to declare their transfer intentions and not impact locker room chemistry.

While there is going to be more discussion about football moving out of the NCAA’s oversight we should see these transfer windows established relatively quickly. Expect a lot more proposals to be coming forward as schools now face the consequences of the years of inaction.