FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Kirby Smart has declared the NCAA transfer portal a “good thing,” but the process is by no means perfect.

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Smart, sharing the stage with Florida State coach Mike Norvell at the Orange Bowl Coaches’ Press Conference on Friday, acknowledged the challenges college football continues to face.

The Georgia Bulldogs (12-1) play the ACC Champion Seminoles (13-0) at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

“There are issues and problems,” Smart said. “I think the fallout, this is going to be 5- or 10-year study when you look back, and kids are going to be graduating at less of a rate.”

Smart suggested those who propose and legislate NCAA rules and calendars have to take into account potential academic ramifications.

“We have to decide if they’re student-athletes or not,” Smart said, “because what we’re seeing is decisions are being made less on student-athletes, and on where they need to go, and financial reasons with NIL and portal mixed together.”

Smart said players don’t often take into account how the academic calendars might vary from one school to the next when making their transfer decisions.

But that is one of the many things coaching staffs have to take into consideration, beyond the conflict of the early signing date and the NCAA transfer portal window overlapping.

The early and ongoing portal window opened on Dec. 4 and runs through Jan. 2, conflicting with coaching staff’s working to close on their early signing day (Dec. 20) classes.

To boot, underclassmen -- many of whom renegotiating NIL and collectives money with their various schools, or considering offers from others -- have until Jan. 15 to declare for the NFL draft.

That has been more challenging for a program like Smart has built at Georgia, as the Bulldogs have produced a nation-high 25 draft picks over the past two seasons, and 34 over the last three.

Smart seemed to suggest and early high school signing date, and/or a later December portal window.

“Signing the high school kids earlier, and then go into the portal after signing high school kids,” Smart said, “would certainly create a little less confusion instead of both going on simultaneously.”

Until then, Smart has to rely on the relationships he has built with his players, and his ability to stay in tune with their plans.

Smart said he was aware of “90 to 95 percent” of the 18 or so Georgia players who entered the portal this offseason.

“You don’t know what you have going in or out,” Smart said, “and it’s all happening at once. I don’t think anybody has a perfect solution.

“Certainly we’re headed toward some tough times if it continues at this rate.”