Given the unique times that we live in, the NCAA has decided to allow for unprecedented flexibility regarding the number of scholarships that an FBS football can hand out. They’ve decided that for the 2022-2023 academic year, yearly signing limits regarding how many players universities can bring in via the high school or transfer pipeline are waived. Additionally, another provision was green-lighted that would allow schools to replace as many as seven student-athletes on scholarships who departed after the fall semester.
These leniency regarding roster construction and scholarship offerings is coming in the face of an anticipated transfer wave unlike anything college sports has ever seen before. Because of the new rule that will allow student-athletes to transfer and play for their new school right away(after their first transfer), there could be an exodus of players looking to jump ship for a better situation.
“We believe schools should have temporary flexibility to help address possible roster depletion due to transfers. This one-year waiver enables schools to properly utilize their scholarship limitations,” said Sandy Barbour, Football Oversight Committee chair. Via NCAA.org
There’s a small caveat with regards to the replenishment of roster spots. A transferring player must be eligible academically at the institution they transfer to, in order for their vacated spot to be replaced at their old school*. The presumed logic behind that seems to center around the notion of universities promoting education as much or more than athletics. If a student is not doing what it takes to make the grade in the classroom, and a university of relatively equal academic stature can’t bring him or her on to play immediately, the incumbent school shouldn’t be rewarded.
Institutions can replace players who enter the transfer portal after the fall term has ended, or December 15th, whichever date comes first. That’s an interesting cutoff, because usually bowl games are played shortly after the middle of December. It would be interesting to see if teams are significantly impacted by departing transfers who leave before the middle of December, in advance of a bowl game later that month or in January.