The NCAA Division I board announced two key rule changes that will impact Georgia’s football program for years to come.
Recruitment-wise, the board agreed to lift initial meter and signing limits for the next two years, essentially allowing schools to sign as many prospects as they want as long as the school is able to stay in below the scholarship limit of 85 men.
For a program like Georgia that wants to grow through recruiting, this should be considered a win. When the NCAA relaxed signing standards for the last cycle, Georgia then signed 30 prospects in the 2022 signing class. The previous year, Georgia only signed 21 players. From 2017 to 2020, Georgia signed between 24 and 25 players in each class.
“I think a lot of colleges need to take a hard look at who they’re hiring and why they’re hiring them,” Smart said in February. “Ten percent of those kids we’re all going to recruit. That’s the next group you better be careful who you recruit because they’re going to make up the majority of your roster.
The rapid use of the single transfer waiver played a role in the change in board policy. The released statement says the board will monitor the data over the next two years before making any further changes. The Bulldogs have seen 12 scholarship players leave the program this offseason.
Given that Georgia prefers to continue building through recruiting, as opposed to the transfer portal, this should help keep Georgia steadily at the 85-man purse limit. The transfer portal will almost always be a net loss. Consider that Georgia had five players from its 2021 team transfer to other SEC schools this offseason. If you’re good enough to make the Georgia roster, you’ll probably be able to earn some real snaps elsewhere.
The Bulldogs have yet to remove a player from the transfer portal this offseason. Just this week, Georgia added to its 2022 roster, but that’s because Marcus Washington Jr., hired in 2023, reclassified and joined the 2022 recruiting round. He will join the team this summer.
Related: What the late addition of Marcus Washington Jr. means for Georgia football
“Guys who want to be here, we’ll coach them,” Smart said after G-Day. “Guys who don’t, then we’re not going to chase them. We can’t. It’s their determination. We’re trying to create a culture where I want to be here, grow and improve. Like you come to Georgia, you grow.
The other big rule change was that the NCAA relaxed its stance on requirements for conference championship games. The PAC-12 went ahead and announced they would do away with splits, and the ACC hinted they would do so as early as the 2023 season.
The SEC has had divisions since 1992. The divisional format has worked well for Georgia, with the Bulldogs winning SEC East in four of the last six seasons under Smart. In a no-division system, the conference championship game would become a matchup between the top two teams, as has been the case with the Big 12 in recent years.
Speaking Wednesday night, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the league is happy with the current setup. But changes on the horizon could force the league to re-examine its league game format.
“It’s on our list. We are not going to do it impulsively in response to today’s decision,” said Sankey. “Divisions have worked really well for us. But when we go to 16 teams, that possibility is at the heart of the SEC. »
Texas and Oklahoma are set to join the SEC for the 2025 season, pushing the conference to 16 teams. Conference scheduling numbers will be a popular topic at this month’s SEC Spring Meetings. Whether it’s a pod system, divisions, or permanent opponents, there are a number of options on the table for the league. Consider that since Texas A&M joined the league in 2012, Georgia has only played them once and won’t visit the Aggies until 2024.