There is nothing quite as shameless as a football coach facing the threat of a loss of player control.
Coaches view the loosening of transfer restrictions as running counter to values they promote in their programs. Many cite stories of how older players fought through adversity early in their careers, stayed with the program and became stars or major contributors.
“We have seen kids that have entered the transfer portal and haven’t been on campus for a semester,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “How do you learn to overcome adversity and fight through battles and learn to compete? I worry about that for our sport; I worry about that for kids and our country. The path of least resistance very rarely is the answer. How do you have discipline and structure and tough conversations in your program if there’s always a Plan B, an outlet with no real repercussions?”
A question that I’m sure more than a few Vanderbilt fans asked themselves when Franklin up and left for Penn State.
Coaches generally like the portal itself and don’t oppose graduate transfers making moves without having to sit out a season. Their beef is with the percentage of waivers being granted and the reasoning behind those approvals.
“It’s too easy right now,” Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said. “It’s too easy to let kids quit.”
Umm… they’re not quitting. They’re still playing, just for another coach, Dave.
Added Shaw: “The hopscotch approach to college really hinders their ability to have success in life.”
Yeah, just look how things have turned out for Baker Mayfield.
“There’s 1,000 kids in the portal right now,” NC State coach Dave Doeren said. “Everyone wants to talk about player safety. What happens when a position group has three less guys left in it? I don’t think we can manage our rosters the way we used to be able to.”
Penn State had 11 players enter the transfer portal this winter, although most have graduated (a 12th, safety Lamont Wade, entered the portal but then withdrew and will remain with the Nittany Lions). PSU also had five underclassmen enter the NFL draft.
“That’s probably the biggest challenge for administration, as well as coaches: How do you ever know who’s actually on your roster and who’s not?” Franklin said. “A lot of coaches have said as soon as you enter the transfer portal, they’re going to take you off scholarship, but that’s another problem with this. They’ve left it kind of gray that each school and each coach can handle it differently.
“You’re in a very, very challenging position in terms of managing your roster, how to recruit, all those types of things.”
These guys are paid hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars, to manage football programs. It must really suck to have to work a little harder at a well-paid job.
But let’s hear it for TCU’s Gary Patterson, who manages the most shameless quote of all:
Patterson admits he’s “just as guilty” of adding two graduate transfers this year, in quarterback Alex Delton (Kansas State) and defensive end Shameik Blackshear (South Carolina).
“The portal will get worse — transfers, waivers — if we don’t do something about it,” Patterson said. “And, eventually, we’re going to hurt the high school senior.”
Yeah, let’s do it for the kids who aren’t even in your program yet! Gary, I hate to tell you what the fix for the unfortunate high school senior who gets screwed by your call to bring in a transfer player at his position ought to be.
UPDATE: Speaking of those high school seniors…