College Baksetball

Transfer Portal: Pros and Cons

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For many college football and college basketball fans, the end of the season brings uncertainty. Which players will turn pro? Which players are graduating? And the newest question, which players are entering the transfer portal? Many players find success at another program. But, sadly there are many players that are never able to find a school that is willing to offer them a scholarship. So why is it that you only hear about the success stories? All of these questions will be addressed as the Transfer Portal: Pros and Cons are confronted.


With many college athletes becoming frustrated with their situation at their current school, the NCAA felt a solution needed to exist. The solution to this problem was addressed in October of 2018. On October 15, 2018, the NCAA came up with the transfer portal rule. The thought was that this ruling would give freedom to NCAA athletes to go wherever they pleased. Student-athletes were given the ability to ask a school compliance administrator to put their name into the transfer portal. After doing this, the school has two days to publicize the information.


While the transfer portal does offer uncertainty for some, for others it is an opportunity for a fresh start. Despite the obstacles of impressing a new coaching staff, learning a new playbook, and being accustomed to a new way of life, sometimes the transfer portal is just what some players need.

Because of the sudden emergence of Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts needed a new home. In order to improve his draft stock, Hurts transferred from Alabama to Oklahoma. After one season in Norman, Hurts was a Heisman finalist and a projected top 5 quarterback prospect.

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After Wake Forest went 4-5 in 2020, running back Kenneth Walker III needed a change of scenery. Once Walker III entered his name into the portal, Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker knew he had to have him. Walker finished with the most rushing yards amongst all Power 5 running backs in 2021. Following his great season, Walker III has declared for the NFL Draft, and he is now projected as a Round 2-3 pick.

Due to a deep wide receiver room at Ohio State, Jameson Williams decided to transfer to Alabama. Alabama has produced some of the top NFL players over the past decade at wide receiver. Indeed, Williams wanted to prove he was the next great Alabama wide receiver. After only totaling 266 yards in two seasons as a Buckeye, Williams hauled in 15 touchdowns on 1,507 receiving yards.


While there are many cases of the transfer portal working out well for student-athletes, more often this isn’t the case. Since August 1, 2021, there have been over 1,400 FBS football players enter the transfer portal. Even though the transfer portal is available to all college athletes, college football seems to have the most parity with it. So why is this? The simple answer is the alarming size of college football rosters.

So many times you hear about the success of the transfer portal. Good teams get even better by finding talent that is looking for a new home. But what happens when the vast majority of players in the transfer portal are just unhappy student-athletes? These student-athletes in the transfer portal are often young 18-20-year-olds that have not had desired success at the school they committed to out of high school. Most of these young student-athletes were the stars at their high school and expected similar success in their first year or two in college. Once these student-athletes experience the smallest amount of frustration, they leave to find a new home. One that will give them everything that they think they deserve.


The sad reality is that out of the 1,400+ football student-athletes in the transfer portal, maybe half will find a new school willing to offer them a full-ride scholarship. And of those lucky enough to find a new home, they face an uphill battle. Either they have to learn a new system, and learn it quickly, or they are left to the wayside.

For many of these young student-athletes, they are used to being the star of their high school team. While they know there will be competition, they still expect to play right away. When they are not given a chance to showcase their talents right away, they want a quick solution. The solution in many cases is to blame their current situation and current coaches and ask for a way out.

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For the other student-athletes who enter the transfer portal, sometimes nobody else comes knocking. While high-profile players are sought after, lower-profile players are not always given a second chance. Many of these student-athletes were only offered a full-ride scholarship to a few schools. And most of the time these schools do not come knocking twice.

So what happens to these players who are not given another chance. Many of them have to quit going to college. They simply are not able to afford to go anymore, and their parents are not able to come up with the funding either. For those who are luckier, they become regular students but have to pay like everyone else.


The transfer portal, although it does have its positives, is vastly a ‘rich get richer’ scenario. For those top-tier teams that lack depth at some positions after the season, the portal allows veteran players to come in and replace last year’s starters. This allows for top-tier teams to stay at the top. The transfer portal also lets players have freedom. There are few regulations to stop players from entering the transfer portal, you must be academically eligible, thus young athletes seek opportunities. But giving young athletes this much freedom is simply put, a risky game. While the transfer portal does work well for some student-athletes, for others they will never get a full-ride scholarship again.

What solution can be brought forth to help improve the transfer portal? Perhaps amend the rules to the transfer portal. Student-athletes could be required to spend at least two years at their original university. Universities could help dictate which players are and aren’t allowed to transfer. Could these solutions work, maybe? But at the end of the day, as long as the rule is in place by the NCAA, the choice lies with the player. While some might live to regret it, others can greatly benefit from it. The best solution is for the players to weigh the gravity of the situation. It is easy to be tempted with short-term solutions, but sometimes the most worthwhile path is a difficult one.

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