As Colorado continues its process of finding a new head football coach, progress is being made on a key issue that has held the Buffaloes back.
CU’s academic standards, in terms of the type of transfer credits accepted, has made it difficult for coaches to recruit second- and third-year transfers from other schools and get them eligible to play. It could soon become easier for those transfers to compete for the Buffaloes.
“We’ve got really strong alignment from our regents, our president, our chancellor,” CU athletic director Rick George told BuffZone on Wednesday. “And our chancellor has been working hard with his team and our team to develop what works in the transfer portal. I feel very good about where we’re going to get to. I think there will be changes made, yes.”
Academically, CU doesn’t accept certain types of credits from other institutions, which can lead to transfers having to re-take classes to catch up on their progress toward a degree.
For years, that wasn’t a major issue in athletics because transfers had to sit out a year, per NCAA rules, and that gave them an opportunity to make up those credits while sitting out. About 19 months ago, however, the NCAA made a significant change, allowing players to transfer one time without sitting out a year.
That change has allowed many of CU’s peers to rebuild quickly and hit the transfer portal to fill holes in their rosters. CU, however, has been unable to land some transfers, because their credits wouldn’t carry over to CU, thus putting them behind the progress toward degree (PTD) requirements.
George, president Todd Saliman and chancellor Phil DiStefano are working to change that.
“It’s something that we know is a priority, something that we need to have in place,” George said. “I’m hopeful that we have that done very shortly.”
George didn’t have specifics on what changes would be made, but said, “We’re moving in a positive direction,” and added it would be “ideal” to have those changes in place for the upcoming transfer cycle.
“I think we’ve recognized that it could be challenging (for transfers) to get in here because of some of the courses that we take and that we don’t take, and I think just re-looking at it (was motivation),” George said. “It’s not going to be something that would be just for student-athletes. It has to be something for all students or it wouldn’t be legal for us to do under NCAA bylaws. Hopefully when (DiStefano and his team) complete their work, it’ll be something that’ll be good for all students.”
CU is also making some progress in the name, image and likeness (NIL) space. The NCAA began allowing student-athletes to profit from their NIL in the summer of 2021.
The transfer portal and NIL have worked hand-in-hand in some cases, and those areas have hurt CU in the past year.
Last month, Saliman told BuffZone, “This is a new day in college athletics with the portal and with NIL and we need to learn how to thrive in that new environment. Clearly, some institutions have figured out how to do that and that’s what we need to figure out how to do, too. … Clearly, we haven’t figured it out yet, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to figure it out. Other institutions have found a way to thrive in this new environment and we need to, as well.”
With the recent introduction of the Buffs4Life NIL collective, George is encouraged by CU’s progress in that area, as well as the transfer issue.
“I think we’re gonna be in a much better position this year than we were last year and I’m excited about that,” he said.
As for the coaching search, George didn’t give out much information, but said, “I think the search is going well. We’ve still got a lot to do, but we also know that we need to get this done with things coming up. So we’re working hard on it.”
George said it’s “always been our plan” to be done before Dec. 5, when the NCAA transfer portal window opens.
Adam Munsterteiger of 247Sports reported Wednesday that CU has “put forth a very impressive offer” to Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders.
A Pro Football Hall of Famer, Sanders is 26-5 at Jackson State, including 11-0 this year. According to Munsterteiger, the offer from CU to Sanders “would make him one of the highest paid coaches in the Pac-12.”
Munsterteiger also reported that Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters, a former CU safety, is among three finalists for the Buffs’ head coaching job.
On Wednesday, George said, as he did on Oct. 2 when previous head coach Karl Dorrell was fired, “Don’t believe everything you read. We’re gonna take our time, we’re gonna do a thorough search, and we’re gonna get the very best coach that we can.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people in the process. I haven’t been sitting around the last two months. I’ve been traveling a lot and engaging with a lot of people.”
George said interim head coach Mike Sanford is still a candidate. Sanford and the Buffs (1-10, 1-7 Pac-12) host No. 14 Utah (8-3, 6-2) in the season finale on Saturday at Folsom Field.
“We talk every week,” George said. “We put him in there for a reason. We thought he was the right guy. He’s instilled some energy in these guys and that’s exactly what we needed.”