Loeffler says high school recruits paying price for transfer rule


NCAA Division I college football coaches used to recruit up to 25 high school football players per year. Now, thanks to the transfer rule, there are fewer spots for high school players.

Bowling Green State University coach Scot Loeffler told the Bowling Green Exchange Club during a luncheon on July 18 at the Bowling Green Country Club that the new transfer rule and NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) rule adopted two years ago are changing the game.

For Loeffler, he says that just means his staff has to “adapt and adjust.”

“It is completely different,” Loeffler said. “It is the fastest thing that I’ve ever seen in football. It is hands down the fastest changes that have ever occurred in the history of the game.

“It’s been fascinating. You came in with this book about this from (well-known NCAA D-I coaches) Lloyd Carr, Urban Meyer, Frank Beamer, Ron Marinelli, Gene Chizik — all the things that you are going to do,” Loeffler continued.

“There are still portions of it — all the values and how you run a program — that are there. But you can take half of it and throw it right out the window because it has completely changed with COVID, how recruiting has changed, and now dealing with the transfer portal, the business doesn’t even markedly look like college football one ounce. Not one ounce.”

Loeffler says it began with the federal government sticking its nose into college football.

“The biggest change without a doubt is the two-headed monster right now — the transfer portal and this lovely thing called NIL,” Loeffler said.

“It is 100% not driven by the NCAA whatsoever. This started out in a court case in California, both the transfer rule and the NIL, and made it all the way up to the Supreme Court,” Loeffler continued.

“In August two years ago, they passed the one-time transfer rule and they passed the NIL. It is not going to go away because the federal government passed it.

“They basically said to the NCAA, ‘You’ve been running an illegal operation for the last 60-some odd years, and this is how it is going to be.’

“So, it is here. It is here to stay and hopefully the people in the U.S. Government can figure out how to fix some of the issues that we have.”

High school recruits cut in half

First of all, Loeffler calls the “one-time transfer rule” a misnomer because players can transfer more than once under certain conditions. Secondly, high school recruits are paying the price.

“What has occurred is, for example, last year we took 13 transfers, and we took 12 high school kids. I typically would take 25 high school kids so that is why the number is cut in half,” Loeffler said.

“This year, we’re having a huge high school year just because we think we have depth at a lot of positions, and obviously that will change predicated on people leaving but right now we’re taking a lot more high school kids and are back to our formula this year.

“But then again, I’ll probably take 10 transfers when it is all said and done. I’ll take 15 high school kids and 10 transfers.

“The focus changes every day and that is where roster management takes place. For example, if I had to break our plan of what I see right now of taking a bunch of high school kids and the next thing I know, I lost two guys from that linebacker position to Ohio State and Michigan.

“Now all of a sudden, I have to take some transfers to fix that hole because, I don’t care what anyone says, playing as a true freshman is really hard.”

The NIL rule is another can of worms, he says. A player could be paid for signing an autograph or be given a car by a local dealership as part of an advertising campaign, he said.

“I’m just trying to make sure we can block, tackle, get a 3.0, be good in the community, win games, and somehow manage around all this craziness,” Loeffler said.

“I just know this, when the federal government is involved, change is going to be very difficult, and I don’t know how they are going to be changed. I know there will need to be some regulations. I just don’t know. That genie is so far out of the bottle it is unbelievable.”

Large programs capitalizing

Loeffler says it is getting so complicated that larger universities are hiring corporate CEOs to manage their programs.

He adds that bigger programs hire an unlimited number of people working in their recruiting department, while mid-majors like BGSU budget typically keep two or three recruiting specialists on staff.

Loeffler does admit some good things did come out of the new rules, like not allowing two-a-days in August.

“If anyone has ever played high school football or college football, it used to be the true dog days where you were seeing the devil in terms of you were practicing two or three times a day,” Loeffler said.

“That has changed significantly — we only practice one time per day. But we’re there from 6 o’clock in the morning to roughly 10 at night, seven days a week, but I must give them one day off.

“But the time spent like they used to spend back in the old school days is over. I think that is good for players’ safety.”

One element of that, however, appears to be leading to more injuries, especially in the early part of the season. Loeffler believes that can be fixed.

“I wish we could tackle more. Think about this — the month of August I am only allowed to be in full pads nine times. That is different,” Loeffler said.

“I wish they would change that because I think the more you tackle the better off you are because you can learn to tackle the correct way.”

In addition, coaches are now allowed to spend more time with their players, especially in spring and June, which Loeffler believes is a good thing.

“I think it’s great. I think if they are on campus and they can spend time with their coaches learning football, I think it’s a positive as long as it’s not being abused,” Loeffler said. “It was good to spend some time with essentially our new players.”

However, July was off-limits for coaching contact with players, so all workouts this month had to be player driven.

A more recent change in D-I football is the expansion of the football playoffs to 12 teams, which will begin in 2026. That may give mid-majors a better chance to actually prove themselves and go after a national title on the gridiron.

“I think the expansion is good for college football. I just think they need to be cautious about utilizing the student’s time,” Loeffler said.

“Football traditionally has been a one semester sport, and now with expansion, I do think it’s good for college football, but I think we need to be cautious and not get too greedy with it.”

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