NCAA Announces Plans To Ease Conference Title Game Requirements, Waives Recruiting Class Size Restrictions
May 10, 2022
The NCAA Football Oversight Committee has proposed solutions for a smoother and easier game flow. It plans to discard the FBS conference championship requirements and grant a two-year waiver for unlimited recruiting classes.
By removing the championship requirements, the conferences will get to enjoy additional flexibility in their system. They will undergo an easier process whenever they wish to implement new ways of crowning a champion.
More importantly, the absence of the requirements would make it possible for the conferences to eliminate divisions. This proposal is widely deemed important, with the idea of breaking down the barriers of division garnering attention in recent years.
Currently, the NCAA rules that any football conference consisting of a minimum of 12 members must hold a championship matchup. Then, they will also need to split teams into divisions with round-robin seasons for divisional opponents.
In 2016, the NCAA passed legislation to allow those with fewer than 12 members to hold conference championship games. This cleared the way for the 10-member Big 12 to hold a title game for the regular season’s top two teams.
Two-year blanket waivers
The waiver is introduced to remove the 25-man initial scholarship counter. Currently, the rules provide the programs with the limited option of adding 25 scholarship football players during each recruiting cycle between high school recruits and transfers.
The problem arises when a period of major transition makes teams unable to meet the 85-man scholarship demand. For example, former University of Kansas head coach Charlie Weis was four games into the 2014 season when he got fired. When his successor coach David Beaty joined the team, only 39 scholarship players remained. By spring, that number dropped even lower to 28. The Kansas Jayhawks have a combined 11-70 record since Weis’ absence.
The Committee has yet to submit the plans to the Division I Council for formal ratification purposes. It is scheduled to be done by the end of this month.
If the proposals pass, especially the waiver, it will be easier for programs to fill the transfer holes faster over a two-year period. The less-hassle transfer market can also start welcoming more high school recruits.
These initiatives came on the same day as the release of the new guidelines for the NIL (name, image, and likeness) system.
"Today, the Division I Board of Directors took a significant first step to address some of the challenges and improper behaviors that exist in the name, image, and likeness environment that may violate our long-established recruiting rules," said the Chairman of the Division I Board of Directors and the President of the University of Georgia, Jere Morehead, in a statement.
"The board noted that the emphasis of this NIL guidance is on boosters in the recruiting process and is not intended to question the eligibility of prospective and enrolled student-athletes involved in NIL deals. Only the most serious actions that clearly violate the previously published interim policy would have eligibility implications."
The board introduced the new guidelines after previously adopting interim guidance last year. Morehead added that "this additional guidance is appropriate now as there is better understanding about the impact on student-athletes. Board members also urged schools to investigate, detect, and self-report violations and cooperate with the NCAA enforcement staff as they investigate".