With the debut of the College Football Playoff in 2014, the creation of the NCAA transfer portal in 2018 and the implementation of name, image and likeness (NIL) policies in 2021, college football has undergone significant, landscape-altering changes over the last eight years.

There are reportedly more on the way.

Will there soon be NCAA transfer portal windows?

Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams throws during an NCAA college football practice Tuesday, April 5, 2022, in Los Angeles. | Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press

Since its inception on Oct. 15, 2018, the transfer portal has become an ever growing part of college sports, especially football.

College football: Is it time to blow it up and start over?
  • Fall and winter sports athletes that enter the portal before May 1 are automatically eligible to play the next season if they haven’t already used the one-time transfer exception, while those that enter after May 1 must obtain a waiver from the NCAA in order to compete immediately.
  • A new proposal by the American Football Coaches Association would create transfer portal windows, limiting when athletes could enter their names into the portal.
  • Per ESPN’s Heather Dinich and Adam Rittenberg, the proposal calls for two transfer windows — one from the final Sunday in November until the early signing day in mid-December, the other from April 15 to May 1.
  • Both windows coincide with allowable contact periods in college football recruiting.
  • Of note, players would not be required to commit to any school during the windows.
  • Todd Berry, the executive director of the AFCA, told ESPN that the association proposed transfer portal windows before the portal went into effect.
Every in-state FBS player who entered the transfer portal last week
  • “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.”

The NCAA is expected to eliminate the 25-man counter limit

Corner Canyon High School athlete Van Fillinger, right, puts on a Utah hat and Josh Wilson wears a BYU jacket as they sign their national letters of intent in Draper, Utah, on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Fillinger signed with Utah and Wilson signed with BYU. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

On Wednesday, Athlon Sports’ Bryan Fischer reported that the NCAA Division I Council is discussing and will “likely” vote in two weeks to eliminate the 25-man counter limit that currently exists in college football.

  • Established in 2011, in response to then-Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt signing 37 players in the Rebels’ 2009 class, and then adjusted in 2018 to be even more stringent, the 25-man counter limit was created to keep programs from oversigning players.
  • In simplest terms, the counter limit prevents schools from adding more than 25 new players in a single offseason, an attempt to eliminate grayshirting and trapdoor cuts.
  • The new proposal would eliminate that restriction, allowing schools to add any number of players each offseason.
  • The only guideline would be that teams could not have more 85 scholarship athletes at a single time (currently teams can go over the 85 scholarship limit, as long as they get to or under that number by the beginning of training camp).
  • Per Fischer, the proposal is for a two-year waiver only, not a permanent change, and is a response to rapidly shifting rosters — an effect of the transfer portal — that can often leave teams with well under 85 scholarship players.
  • Shortages in scholarship athletes have been argued to be a significant health risk for players.
  • “We have to do something,” West Virginia head coach Neal Brown told Sports Illustrated. “The current system doesn’t work. It’s extremely difficult to get to your 85 without putting walk-ons on scholarship.”