The NCAA Transfer Portal

The NCAA loosened its transfer rule. Starting next season major college football and basketball players may transfer one time before graduating without being required to sit out a year of competition.  I have read reports that say there are 1500 student-athletes who have either entered the transfer portal or who have made a preliminary application to transfer.  I have no problem with this version of “collegiate free agency” unless – make that until – someone suggests that this need not be limited to a “one-time occurrence”.

I get all the rhetorical arguments about how coaches can pick up and move without having to sit out a year, but players cannot.  That is true; that is also a distinction based on a fundamental difference; players are not coaches and coaches are not players.  Oh, and coaches are not students either.

So, give the players a one-time pass to transfer without penalty; consider that an homage to the adage that “everyone makes mistakes”.  However Mr. or Ms. Student-Athlete, choose wisely in that free transfer because there should not be any others coming your way.  Remember, the people making those “transfer decisions” are adults; they are eligible to vote; if they make a bad life choice, they do not deserve an unending supply of “get out of jail free cards”.

Bob Molinaro had this comment on the subject in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot a couple of weeks ago:

Fastbreak: Can’t resist touching again on the havoc created by the NCAA’s new, liberal transfer policy. Not when the Syracuse women’s basketball team just lost 12 players to the portal.”

I am confident that Syracuse – and other schools – will figure out ways to navigate these new waters and fill out team rosters.  Here is what I find most interesting:

  • If Joe Flabeetz is a chemistry major and decides to transfer from School A to School B after three semesters, Joe often finds that he cannot transfer all his credits to School B.  Remembering that the NCAA model is the “student-athlete”, I wonder how many transferring student-athletes find that they cannot transfer credits and that lack of standing makes them ineligible not by NCAA rules but by School B’s rules.
  • The answer is obviously zero – – because the student-athlete would not transfer to a school where he/she was academically ineligible.  Some student-athletes may not be anywhere near ready for college education, but they cannot possibly be that stupid.  Right?
  • Nonetheless, isn’t that a convenient circumstance for those reported 1500 “student-athletes”?

Yesterday, I mentioned that one of the NFL games that could have a beaten-to-death storyline was the Niners at the Bears on Halloween.  The Niners made a major trade to move up to the #3 position in the Draft giving them access to the QB they wanted in the Draft once the first two QBs were off the board.  They selected Trey Lance with that pick; obviously, he is the player they wanted; there had been hundreds of speculative articles and comments about who they would take even up until moments before the pick was announced.

One of the prominent alternative names in those speculations was Justin Fields who was taken by the Bears later in the Draft after the Bears made a trade to move up to get him.  It is not a guarantee that Lance and Fields will be the starters in that game; both the Niners and the Bears have QBs on their rosters who could be “placeholder QBs” for some/all of the 2021 season as Messrs. Lance and Fields “learn the trade”.  However, if they do face each other, it might be interesting to note what it cost each team in terms of draft capital to make the selection that they did.

Here is the Niners’ trade:

  • Niners get: The #3 pick in the 2021 Draft which they used to select Lance.
  • Dolphins get:  The #12 pick in the 2021 Draft (later traded to the Eagles) plus the Niners’ first and third round picks in 2022 and the Niners first round pick in 2023.

Here is the Bears’ trade:

  • Bears get:  The # 11 pick in the 2021 Draft which they used to select Fields.
  • Giants get:  The #20 pick in the 2021 Draft plus a fifth-round pick in the 2021 Draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2022 Draft.

Both teams traded up 9 slots in the Draft – – albeit the Niners traded to get a much more advantageous position.  However, the “investment” made by the two teams in terms of “draft capital” to acquire the rookie QB they selected is huge.

Speaking of these two QBs taken in the first round of this year’s Draft, there were 5 QBs taken in the first round including 3 QBs taken in the first three picks and all 5 QBs going in the first 15 selections.  Only the 1983 NFL Draft saw more QBs taken in the first round; and in 1983, there were only 28 teams selecting players in the first round.  To refresh your memory here are the QBs from the “Class of 1983”:

  1. John Elway – taken first overall, won 2 Super Bowls, made the Hall of Fame.
  2. Todd Blackledge – taken #7, played in all or part of 7 seasons without distinction.
  3. Jim Kelly – taken #14, appeared in 4 Super Bowls, made the Hall of Fame.
  4. Tony Eason – taken #15, appeared in a Super Bowl game, played in all or part of 8 seasons.
  5. Ken O’Brien – taken #24, played in all or part of 10 seasons without distinction.
  6. Dan Marino – taken #27, played in 1 Super Bowl, made the Hall of Fame.

Finally, here is an NFL Draft related comment from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:

“The Falcons signed undrafted Jack Batho IV, a 6-foot-7, 315-pound tackle from South Dakota School of the Mines.

“Hey, if a guy from there can’t open a hole, who can?”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



4 thoughts on “The NCAA Transfer Portal”

  1. The NCAA has been creeping up on this point for several years. The uneven grants of waivers and the squishy rules about what circumstances were valid reasons for waivers had many coaches and parents pressuring the NCAA to make changes. This is likely to be just the beginning. Coaches that verbally abuse players are going to see lots of transfers out.

    1. Doug:

      Agree, the genie is out of the bottle and is not going to return to the bottle willingly or quickly…

  2. players are not coaches and coaches are not players. Oh, and coaches are not students either.

    I[‘d point out that quite often the players are not students either…..

    1. Ed:

      But players seem to be able to transfer “academic credits” almost with impunity…

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