Transfers are scary things.

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…


Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA, Transfers Are For Coaches.

14 responses to “Transfers are scary things.

  1. W Cobb Dawg

    Did Kirby ever really say he “hates it” or is the talking head putting words in his mouth? Kirby’s actually done well bringing in select players. And I wouldn’t jump to conclusions that he regrets the Fields transfer.

    Ya know, I can’t give players much credit here. If any of them had a lick of sense they’d stage a walkout, i.e. strike. It would be the surest, fastest route to getting more compensation. People’s heads would explode if the Dawgs and Notre Dame didn’t take the field on Sept. 21st – including yours truly.


    • CB

      18-22 year olds who have focused on nothing but sports their whole lives finding a way to organize nationally against adults whose main job description is to keep them from doing so? Yeah, surprising they can’t pull that off. Then add in the fact that only about 1% of these players actually have a claim on high level market value and your criticism doesn’t make much sense.


  2. stoopnagle

    I am with you on a reasonable accommodation, for sure. The bottom lines to me are:

    The NCAA wants to “normalize” s/a as students as much as possible. Students transfer all the time, on a whim, and sometimes even to their detriment. (I have stories!) Making mistakes and decisions is part of growing up, y’all. We don’t learn unless we do it on our own – in case you’re one of the “snowplow parents” out there.

    Coaches are paid A SHIT TON of money. They are more than well-compensated to deal with keeping their team motivated and pulling together. So they need to STFU and do their jobs.


  3. Bill Glennon

    “Entitled” College Football Fans. LOL. It’s “Fan Privilege” I tell ya!

    What’s the “reasonable common ground” that you could see working? What specifically would you propose to all parties as a solution?


    • I think you give every undergraduate kid one shot at transferring, with no restrictions, at any point. I think you give every graduate a transfer without restriction, regardless of whether they’ve transferred before, because they’ve met their end of the deal — but I think Edsall’s point about making them sign a NLI is fair.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bill Glennon

        Sounds reasonable. Thanks for being specific.


      • Junkyardawg41

        I really like the idea and I have to wonder why the NCAA doesn’t. It keeps the NCAA from looking really bad in the Ford case and provides an opportunity for a player to change their mind.


      • Senator, I totally agree with your proposal … my only minor tweak would be that the athlete has to be academically eligible and can’t be transferring for behavioral problems.


  4. GruvenDawg

    The portal has definitely changed the perspective for college recruiting. Coaches are going to have to do a better job at managing their relationships with their players. All of these kids want to pursue their dream of making a living at their sport of choice.

    I mentioned it when it was passed the NCAA had no idea how to handle the situation and will struggle to to make it work for all parties involved. For football the 25 each year rule is going to have to be adjusted. Penn State and VT were hit hard by transfers and aren’t going to be able to remedy the situation easily because of the new transfer process.


  5. CB

    Have we mentioned the Jaden Hunter portal entry? Seems so be flying under the radar. Might be the first of a few dominoes.