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Farrell: Let’s Rethink this Transfer Window Idea

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Caleb Williams USC football transfer of the week.

The NCAA and the powers that be are at it again. This time it’s about transfer portal windows. And while at first I thought they were necessary, I have thought long and hard about this and think a different approach is needed.

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. So that’s from a transfer portal open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day to 60 days out of the year. That’s just not enough for me.

More than 2,000 players enter the portal each year from August 1 to July 31 over those 365 days and now you’ll be stuffing all applicants into a small window. This is akin to trying to shotgun a full leg of beer instead of a can, it just isn’t smart. Those 45 days after selection day will be mad chaos during a time where coaches are doing bowl prep, on the road recruiting and preparing for the early signing period. Of course players can take longer to make their transfer decision but roster assessment needs to be done quickly and there just won’t be time to make such decisions. While this spreads things out a bit when it comes to portal offers and such, it’s just making a chaotic situation more chaotic.

Coaches have time to assess 10 or so players entering in a slow week during July or October and scramble during the busy time of December, January and February but it’s manageable. And following spring ball it’s not horrible either with the May 1 deadline for players looking to be eligible for the next season. But again, put all of that action in 45 days only and then 15 following the spring and you have issues.

So what’s a better idea? I’ve thought and thought of windows for the portal similar to the high school recruiting calendar. Dead periods vs quiet times and so on. But none of that matters in the end. It’s not when they go in that I care about, it’s whether they are making a smart decision or not.

So here’s my proposal. Keep it the way it is now but add something. So players can enter the portal anytime they want, 365 days a year, but let’s make this happen. During the peak times, perhaps those two windows the NCAA wants, a player who enters the portal doesn’t show up until three days after he’s filed. That’s a 72 hour cooling off period where he can say no harm, no foul and it was a hot-headed situation and rash decision. And during the non-window times, there would be a two-week cooling off period. File, wait two weeks and then essentially confirm hitting “send”.

I’m much less worried about players making a major mistake entering and being left out, especially with less fluidity of roster change with these windows, than I am about who is going in when. And the unlimited transfer rule that goes with this? I’ll have more on that soon.

Known as “The Godfather” of recruiting, Farrell joins The Portal Report after a stellar 24-year run with recruiting site Rivals. Farrell has covered football at all three levels, with national TV experience and over 20 years serving as Rivals’ National Recruiting Director.

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