David Ubben ($$) has a good piece up about how the repercussions of transfer portal fever is making life a lot more difficult for coaches (well, at least those not named Nick Saban). Most of the frustration is centered around charting a course between this rock…
One suggestion the committee pitched to calm some of the transfer chaos: Giving players a two-month window after the regular season and after the spring semester to enter the portal, which would better allow coaches to project their numbers and fill them through recruiting or backfilling in the portal. In the sport’s current state, an entire position group could depart for any reason and leave a gaping hole in any roster.
Another possible solution: Keeping the scholarship count at 85 but requiring two-thirds of those scholarships be players the program signed out of high school.
“Those sound great, but what the NCAA is concerned about more than anything else is they don’t want to restrict players’ ability to do anything because of the Supreme Court decision,” a Group of 5 assistant said.
One Power 5 assistant said he hoped the sport would have some kind of collective bargaining agreement in the future.
“If we’re going to be like the pros, we’ve gotta have something in there that’s beneficial on both sides,” he said.
… and this hard place.
“The level of discontent among the athletes in college football is at an all-time high,” a veteran Power 5 assistant said. “We gotta kind of coddle them, baby them. I’m just telling you. We try not to, but man (pause), it’s terrible, actually. You try to keep kids happy, but you can’t. There’s 22 starters, but there’s 80 guys on your team who aren’t starting, and even the guys who are starting aren’t getting enough sacks or catches or carries and they’re unhappy.”
We’re in the early innings of a game where there’s been a tectonic shift in leverage. If you’re a coach who’s never suffered the repercussions of being a control freak before, of course you’re going to be frustrated as shit watching players who formerly had little choice but to stick it out with you now waive bye-bye for greener pastures at the seeming drop of a helmet.
The key word there being “early”. Coaches will start figuring out — or, in some cases, already have figured out — a better way to keep their talent in the fold. Players will begin to realize those greener pastures aren’t always greener when they show up.
“I trust that there’s a lot of smart people working toward the same thing. Just like anything else, in two to three years it’ll level out,” a Group of 5 assistant said. “And the player who is an average Group of 5 player will no longer be getting in the portal and hoping for a Power 5 offer.”
It’s just that the ride is likely to be bumpy for some for a while. Buckle up.