That’s why everyone uses scare quotes these days. Here, for example, is a question from yesterday’s Bill King post:
Bill, the way I see it, this “transfer portal” the NCAA has instituted is going to remake the game of college football, and not in a good way. No wonder Kirby and other coaches hate it. If players can leave whenever they want and transfer wherever they want, it’s likely to make it impossible to stockpile talent and let it mature. Top-ranked players come in and don’t crack the starting lineup in their first season? They’re outta here! Won’t that put pressure on coaches to start all the 5-stars they sign, even if they’re not ready? And that’s so unfair to players who’ve worked hard in the program. What are your thoughts?
Now, transfer portal is a real phrase, so why the quotation marks? There’s only one reason, Bubba. Fear! Anxiety!
Much the same in this Hartford Courant piece about “free agency” and the “transfer portal” (again). I’m beginning to think coaches tell their kids scary stories at bedtime: “if you don’t behave, you’re going straight into the transfer portal!”. Ooh.
Well, it’s only fair to say that Randy Edsall, of all people, ain’t buying that.
“I think you have too many people in the NCAA who are out of touch with reality of what this is all about. They want to sit there and think grad transfers is about academics. It’s not about academics. It’s about these young men taking advantage of an opportunity, because they did get an undergraduate degree, to maybe go somewhere and give them a better opportunity to showcase their abilities and talents that’s going to help them get a better opportunity in the NBA or the NFL. That’s really what it’s all about.”
Ironically, both Edsall and entitled college football fan grasp the situation better than does the NCAA. This isn’t about academics, as much as some schools and Mark Emmert would like to insist otherwise. It’s about who should have control over student-athletes’ playing futures.
And maybe how much control they should have. Edsall goes on to make what I think is a valid point with this:
… He would also like to see a binding letter of intent as part of the process.
After last season, defensive lineman Michael Hinton, who graduated from Columbia, committed to play at UConn as a grad student and signed a financial aid agreement, binding for the school, but not the player. Last week, Hinton changed course and decided to play at Tulane, another AAC school, and Edsall said he believes he won’t be able to use the scholarship on another player, because Hinton had signed a financial agreement at UConn.
Bottom line, there should be some sort of reasonable common ground to attain regarding transfers. That probably won’t happen until the NCAA drops the fiction it’s trying to preserve the academic mission. Oh, and everybody loses the scare quotes…