Connect with us


OPINION: Transfer Portal is not all bad… yet

The transfer portal might not be that bad after all.



The transfer portal and NIL have undoubtedly shifted the landscape of college recruiting, but college athletics is not nearly ruined. Before the masses come out with pitchforks and torches claiming that the sport they once loved is over, there is good that is shining through the chaos. 

The Pros

The portal is the hot topic of every team’s offseason due to the NCAA making it possible for athletes to move to a better situation for themselves without needing to sit out and redshirt an entire season. The ease of transferring has been obviously enticing for players, as talented and under-recruited players can move their way up the ladder to have the opportunity to shine at bigger schools, or players looking for more time at larger schools can downsize and shine elsewhere. Without bringing in NIL quite yet, this is a positive because players should not be penalized as they search for the perfect opportunity for themselves. Now, with NIL being included, the portal has essentially created a college “free agency” where players can put themselves on the market for schools and collectives around the country to put an offer in for players that are of high priority. Although frustrating for fans, as it has become difficult to attach to players at your school because they could be gone in the blink of an eye, it is great for these athletes to be able to capitalize on what is likely their last few years of the sport they play. Fans need to remember that these are college-age kids, some coming from low-income upbringings, and the 4-5 years they have played in college are likely their last years playing, as fewer than 2% of college athletes go on to becoming professionals. Prior to NIL, these athletes chose their school based on things like; athletic success, relationships with coaches and teammates, academics, proximity to hometown, and so on, therefore the only change is that money is another deciding factor for their decision. 

The Cons

The situation I laid out before is one that seemingly only exists in a perfect world, where an athlete only receives offers from other schools once they have entered the portal. One big problem that has been happening has been the tampering happening across college athletics, especially football and basketball. This tampering is where schools and collectives are reaching out and offering large sums of cash to athletes who are not in the portal or not looking to leave their current situation. This has been the source of frustration for small to mid-sized schools, as they do the heavy lifting of finding a player, developing them into being a star, and seeing them get offered money that they cannot compete with and seeing the player leave without them ever having the temptation to do so. This has left these mid-sized schools to essentially be farm systems for the “blue bloods” of their sports to take their pick from. 



So what is the solution for this problem? It is extremely difficult and nearly useless for the NCAA to try and penalize schools for this tampering. With how recruiting punishments have gone in the past, it is unlikely to create any drastic changes anyway. I believe the only way for the chaos to calm is for contractual agreements to be in place between schools and players, much like how professional leagues operate. This would allow for athletes to still be treated like free agents and get offers from teams, but it could slow the tampering towards players who are under contract and committed to a school. As for the teams, contracts would put meaning back into the word “committed” and allow for coaches to have the opportunity to invest long-term in players in order to build a program for more than one year. Contracts in college sports would not completely solve tampering, but it could help a coach to know if a player may be leaving instead of being blindsided during an offseason when multiple players enter the portal. 

Through the chaos, the portal and NIL have been a net positive so far for college athletics. The rules and regulations to reign in the madness will hopefully come at some point, as the problems that have come with the portal seem to be ones that have solutions that can be put in place. So fans just need to sit back and relax while riding this bumpy road, as smooth driving is coming soon… hopefully.