College football coaches' association to propose transfer windows

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- College football coaches will propose transfer windows in the late fall and spring to help with roster management around the transfer portal.

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 NCAA's transfer portal, which debuted in October 2018, currently doesn't have specific windows for movement. The only deadline is that players must notify schools that they are entering the portal by May 1 of each academic year. Berry noted that AFCA members proposed transfer windows before the portal went into effect, but they have not been adopted.

"We knew there were going to be very few controls over it, but at least if we had a window, then the student-athletes would be able to go, 'Is this a good decision? Because here's 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 need to be able to make educated decisions.

"We're working on a window concept that I think is going to be very good for the student-athlete, to give them those opportunities, and to provide the universities and their team and teammates with a little bit more clarity on positions and recruiting and those kinds of things."

Berry said the current portal setup without windows has created "turmoil" and "chaos" with roster management. He thinks the coaches' proposal likely will go to the NCAA Division I football oversight committee and the Division I transformation committee. A football oversight committee source told ESPN that transfer windows are a "foregone conclusion."

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 spring [practice]," Fisch told ESPN. "To assume that they can make a decision after just a season, you're assuming that recruiting isn't going to play a role. You have to see who did they sign, what did the recruiting class look like and then spring ball, who came early. 'I thought I was the second back but I'm really the fourth back.' Who left early?

"You have to give them that opportunity."

Berry said the AFCA also supports eliminating the maximum of 25 initial scholarships coaches are allowed during each recruiting class, saying that teams should be allowed to reach the 85-scholarship limit on their own timetable. Berry mentioned one school that has as few as 62 total scholarship players, and "with all the chaos," some teams have so many holes to fill on their roster they don't have enough players at certain positions.

By keeping the number of annual official visits at 56, teams would be prevented from overturning their entire rosters.

"We need to lose [25 initial scholarships per year] and we need to create some portal windows and then we need to build a recruiting calendar that understands that some of it's going to be high school and some of it's going to be transfers," Berry said. "And you got two transfer windows to work around. And so it's going to take a reworking of the calendar, but we need to find out first if we can get the portal windows put in."