College Football Transfer Portal Rules Explained

Its invention has changed the sport, but the college football transfer portal rules are not always easy to follow. So we explain some of the key ones.

Its invention has revolutionized the sport, but the college football transfer portal rules are not always easy to understand. As players look to find a new home following the conclusion of the regular season, we attempt to answer some of the most important questions and explain some of the more intricate rules of the college football transfer portal.

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2022 College Football Transfer Portal Rules Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the College Football Transfer Portal?

The college football transfer portal is a database that helps players facilitate a transfer between programs. It was created in Oct. 2018 to provide a clear and visible indicator that a player was open to transferring from one program to another. Under the current rules of the college football transfer portal, a player informs their current program that they wish to transfer, and the school then enters the player’s name into the portal.

They are then free to negotiate a transfer to any other school as long as they meet the academic requirements of that institution. Once a permanently available feature that you could enter at any time, a recent change to the rules of the college football transfer portal means that there are some limitations. Speaking of which…

When Does the College Football Transfer Portal Open?

Unlike Chad Ochocino, the college football transfer portal is no longer always open. Prior to the rules changing in August 2022, you could enter the transfer portal at any point during the college football calendar. It had been this way since the inception of the portal in 2018, but it became increasingly difficult for programs to manage their rosters with players entering the portal sometimes mere weeks before the start of the college football season.

In order to combat this, the NCAA announced a change to the rules of the college football transfer portal. Rather than being a year-round free-for-all, there is now a window in which players can enter the portal. While there are some exceptions — which we’ll get to shortly — players can enter the portal on Dec. 5. and that window ends on Jan. 18. There is also a spring window that lasts from May 1 to May 15.

How Long Are Transfer Portal Windows Open?

Under the new college football transfer portal rules, there are two windows in which a player can seek a new program to play for. The first window opens immediately after the college football conference championship weekend and lasts for 45 days. The second window, which opens in spring, lasts for 15 days.

It’s important to note that under the new transfer portal rules, players do not have to transfer within the 45- and 15-day windows. Those windows are purely for you to enter your name in the portal. Once your name is in the college football transfer portal, you have unlimited time to find a new home as long as you meet academic requirement dates.

Which Players Are Exempt From the College Football Transfer Portal Rules?

Although the college football transfer rules have been reshaped to prevent a free-agency style free-for-all, there are some players who are exempt from the recent rehashing. Graduates have always been free to transfer whenever and wherever they like, with their academic responsibilities already taken care of. They were previously exempt from having to apply for an eligibility waiver under the original college football transfer portal rules.

Additionally, any player that plays for a program where the coach has been fired has an additional opportunity to find an alternative place to play under the new college football transfer portal rules. A 30-day window opens as soon as the head coach has been fired.

Can You Play Immediately After You Transfer in College Football?

Yes. It hasn’t always been the case, but thanks to the NCAA abolishing their regulation requiring a student athlete to sit for a year following their transfer in April 2021, any transfer athlete is eligible to play immediately for their new program in the following season.

What is prohibited under the college football transfer rules is playing for two different teams within the same season. For example, if you enter the transfer portal in the May window but don’t transfer until October — remembering that under the college football transfer portal rules, you can transfer at any time — you wouldn’t be eligible to play for your new program until the following season.

Do You Lose Your Scholarship if You Enter the Transfer Portal?

Potentially. Under the rules of the college football transfer portal, once you’ve entered your name into the portal, your current program has the right to reduce or cancel your scholarship completely. Whether you lose some or all of your scholarship is at the discretion of the coach and athletic department. They are also entitled to reduce or cancel the financial support for the following academic term once you enter your name in the portal.