Wednesday, May 4, 2022

‘Momentum’ for dumping yearly scholarship limits in football

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold waits to lead his team onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas head coach Lance Leipold waits to lead his team onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — College football coaches are pushing for changes to NCAA rules to help stabilize rosters depleted by transfers.

The proposals would lift the yearly cap on how many players a school can sign and create designated windows in which a player must enter the transfer portal and retain immediate eligibility.

Support for the changes appear to be gaining “momentum.”

Todd Berry, the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, said Tuesday after a meeting of the group’s board of directors that the changes would help bring some order to what has become a chaotic time in college football.

The coaches’ proposal would scrap the current cap that limits schools to signing 25 players per year. Those players can be either high school recruits or transfers. The overall scholarship cap of 85 would remain in place.

The problem is, Berry said, a large number of players transferring out can leave rosters well short of 85 scholarship players if only 25 can be signed in a single year.

“We’ve always been real supportive of (the yearly cap) because we felt like that it had some controls to it, but we’re in kind of in an uncontrollable space right now,” Berry said. “For the health and safety of our athletes, not being able to try to get to an 85 number at the FBS level, that’s hard.”

The proposed transfer windows would require football players to enter the portal from the final Sunday in November until the early signing date in mid-December or from April 15 to May 1.

Berry said both coaches and players would benefit from more certainty.

“When you have an open portal like that, it’s hard for young people sometimes to make great decisions because they don’t know the impacts of their move. They don’t know what their competition is at another school, they don’t know about competition coming into their own program,” said the former head coach at Louisiana-Monroe and Army.

The NCAA changed its rules last year to allow all college football players to transfer one time as undergraduates without sitting out a season at the new school.

That move, along with lifting a ban on athletes being compensate for their names, images and likenesses, has created unprecedented transfer movement in major college football.

The number of FBS football players entering their names in the transfer portal in 2021 was 1,427, up from 896 in 2020, according to the NCAA.

Ohio State football coach Ryan Day doesn’t have any concerns filling out his roster, but can see how problems doing so can quickly mount for a coach. Especially, one taking over a program. Coaching changes tend to trigger transfers.

“For some programs, and certainly for guys who are going into new spots, that’s almost an impossible feat if you only 25 spots to fill,” Day said. “So what are they supposed to do?”

Whatever the reason for the change, if it happens, it would qualify as big news for the Kansas football program, which has been in constant pursuit of reaching the 85-man limit since Charlie Weis and David Beaty were in the head coach's office.

Junior college recruiting efforts gone wrong under those two coaches put the Kansas roster in a hole, and the 25-man limit on each recruiting class made it harder to play catch up.

Although both current KU coach Lance Leipold and his predecessor, Les Miles, gained on it, the Jayhawks have remained in an uphill climb toward a full, 85-man roster of true scholarship players. The rise of the transfer portal has slowed some of that progress, but this move — whatever the reason behind it — would be a big lift for KU's pursuit of the 85-man maximum.

West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, who is the chairman of the NCAA Division I Council and also part of the NCAA’s Division I transformation committee, said he would like to see the changes go through the legislative process instead of a temporary waiver being passed.

“There’s a lot of momentum going into it,” Lyons said of the proposals.

He added that he believes the changes could in place by the upcoming football season.

“You can even put a caveat on it, saying we’re going to lift the cap limit and go to 85 scholarships, and we’re going to continue looking for two years and then come back and revisit it,” Lyons said. “And maybe it’s working in two years. Maybe it’s not.”

— Journal-World Sports Editor Matt Tait contributed to this report.


Dirk Medema 3 weeks ago

Junior college recruiting efforts gone wrong under Charlie Weis and David Beaty is so ignorant.

Junior college recruiting efforts under Charlie Weis we’re an obvious disaster. 50% of the recruits never saw the field and many didn’t even make it to campus.

David Beaty was obviously not successful enough and too much juco recruiting might have slowed the recovery, but the majority of the juco recruits were on campus contributing to the program and included extra years of eligibility. Progress was made from the abysmal sub-FCS scholarship levels Beaty inherited toward 85 each year. I’m not sure that was the case during the Les Miles campaigns when we had mass defections.

Dale Rogers 3 weeks ago

So, say there are no more losses from the team and we are able to fill all current openings. How close would we be to the 85 limit?

Dirk Medema 3 weeks ago

Dale - It’s a little difficult to tell who is on scholarship or not. I’m counting 86 on the roster and estimating 70 on scholarship.

Matt Tait 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Dirk - We'll look into the roster number situation over the summer. It is always difficult to nail down an exact number, though, unless the coaches and athletic department are willing to help out, which they haven't always been.

As for the Weis/Beaty juco issue, you're fooling yourself if you think Beaty did anything to make that situation better. He inherited a mess, yes, but he also left one behind and never made any real headway toward crawling out of that hole.

Here are a couple of Keegan articles that might refresh your memory. Weis takes most of the blame, and he deserves what he gets, but Beaty did no better. If he had, Leipold would not still be chasing the number.

Also... Here's one I wrote recently about Leipold discussing how close KU is to the 85-man limit. They're gaining on it.

Dirk Medema 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Matt - I’m fully aware that TK loved to bash Coach Beaty. The comments of the second link are also telling - once you sort out the inane. TK was apparently butt hurt about something (He even wrote an article pouting about not being invited to some dinner.) went to great creative lengths to arrive at his desired scenario. Unfortunately, the extent of his research is scene in simply copy-pasting names from the roster to the article. Just junk reporting. It was such a relief to see him go.

You are also mistaken about the fooling yourself comment. While it might be difficult to get an exact number outside of the AD, it is not difficult at all to get close. I had the spreadsheets to tracked the roster for the entire time Beaty was coaching based published info; sorted by class, position and nonscholarship/walkons. It didn’t get into the verbal nonsense of inherited vs spring ball vs whatever. It was simply who’s on the team this year. We went from about 50 players when Beaty started (sub-FCS level) to about 70 when he left. That is a significant improvement. Not finished or what is desired but a significant improvement. I’d give you the exact numbers but thought we were past the nonsense and deleted the xls last month.

I was hoping you were including the article TK wrote at the end of the last season (more inane bashing that just looked at JC vs HS) but also just a week or so ahead of another article that actually looked at the roster. The latter article showed how Coach Beaty’s use of the 4-game redshirt rule resulted in a balanced roster between the classes, and one that could have been taken to 85 in 2 more recruiting cycles. That’s a significant improvement over the sub-FCS level that was inherited. No fooling.

To say that Beaty was no better than Weis also ignores the 50% attrition under the latter vs 50% extended stay of the JCs for the former. That too is significant and factual. No fooling.

The improvement in the roster could also be seen in the postseason awards. We went from nothing to a half dozen if I recall correctly. That too is a significant improvement and factual.

It is good to see Coach Leipold’s thoughtful approach to the roster and getting it refined. It seemed that Coach Beaty did end up taking leftovers at the end; an apparent result of the poorer on field performance. Your one comment makes the jump from Beaty to Leipold while ignoring Miles and the massive number of experienced players he ran off while he was still coaching vs following a change. That too is significant.

I look forward to seeing your article this summer. I certainly hope we can get past the TK nonsense.

Brett McCabe 2 weeks, 6 days ago

We should trust Dirk's deleted spreadsheet over Keegan? No, don't think so. We aren't "over the nonsense" because Dumpster Fire Beaty, the single worst coach in college football history, trashed the roster on his way out the door. Making some headway on the roster build is not a cause for celebration. He was being paid millions of dollars to do a job, which he did horribly, but throwing a parade for a guy who gave up on his own program to try and save his job is absolutely mind-boggling.

Here are the facts on David Beaty:
He was hired to recruit Texas. He failed epically.
He was hired to ignite our offense with a "modern" offense. Air-Raid? Virtually no successful program in the country without Rick Leach as the coach has had any great success with that offense.
He was hired because he was supposed to be a recruiting guru. Need a guru? How about the dude that brought us Pooka? Beaty, couldn't win a recruiting battle against a guy selling bad sushi. He burned the roster down in his last full recruiting class while trying to save his job. And by doing so, he undid any progress he had made. And worst of all, on the day he was fired, he had ZERO oral commitments to the program. This was in NOVEMBER, prior to a December signing date. So, with two consecutive recruiting classes, he put us in another massive recruiting hole. Plus, he was a complete moron who went through more offensive coordinators than Nicolas Cage goes through wives (highly recommend his latest, PIG, btw, if you haven't seen it).

Beaty did tons of damage to this program, just as much as both Weis and Miles all-told, simply because he was given twice as long to do stupid things. And that was his number one activity while here.

Dirk Medema 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Maybe Coach Beaty was hired because he was 1 of only two candidates that would take the position for the $800k salary. Conveniently, we got to keep the other candidate as DC.

Matt, while I deleted the xls from the desktop, it’s probably saved on a backup drive if you’re interested in facts. The reality is that even making the xls is only a couple hours of copy-paste with a bit of parsing, logic arguments, and summation. At its simplest, it’s just reading the roster and counting. Heck, even Brett or Rodney could do that if they borrowed someone else’s fingers and toes.

Andy Godwin 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Yet another example of poor leadership and zero foresight. The NCAA approves the transfer portal without plans how to manage. This worthless organization makes up rules on the fly. Given college athletics has adopted free agency without restrictions, it is a no brainer in football to lift the 25 yearly restrictions while maintaining the 85 overall limit for scholarship.

Alex Berger 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Part of the the reason the 25 scholarship limit existed was to protect players from being run off and from over recruiting to the top schools. It added some stability in a profession that already has coaches working insane hours. The removal of the limit will help with the 85 scholarship issue but it's a band-aid. It's gonna get a lot worse before it gets better. Complicated problem and solution but sheesh this will be wild.

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