The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly Of The College Football Transfer Portal
College football is one of the most overanalyzed and over-criticized sports in America. Whether that's paying players through NIL or extending the college football playoffs there is always something with college football. And one thing that has been argued since Joe Burrow left Ohio State for LSU is the transfer portal.
The topic of the transfer portal has been buzzing all over social media and caused real vitriol out of people over the past two months. Two players entered the portal that started the conversation. First was former Ragin Cajun offensive lineman Kamryn Waites, who transferred to Florida. And then the major bombshell came out of Oklahoma, where star freshman quarterback Caleb Williams entered the portal.
After those two it's been a snowball effect, especially at UL. Montrell Johnson, Emani Bailey, Kyren Lacy, Mehki Williams-Garner, O'Cyrus Torrence, and Lorenzo McCaskill have all entered the portal, some have committed to new teams while others are still looking for their new school.
However, this isn't just a UL thing. This is happening across the country. Fans and Coaches alike are upset at the portal. Some have refused to embrace the portal whereas others are thriving off of it.
Why The Transfer Portal Is Good For Players
The transfer portal has really shifted the power structure in college football. Before players utilized this tool they were either trapped at the school they were at, or they would transfer and lose the first year of eligibility at their new university. Now players are allowed to transfer once and play immediately. This new rule has led to fans and coaches questioning the "toughness" and "mental fortitude of these players. To me, I think that is just ridiculous.
In my humble opinion, I think it is asinine questioning a player's "mental toughness" if they want to transfer. In every other profession in America employees can quit when they want and no one bats an eye. Why is it then a problem when a player wants to leave their school for a better one for their future? And that's why I think the transfer portal is great for players. They are allowed now to control their futures and destiny. I get that players are supposed to be at school for their education; however, most of these players are more concerned with their sport than their education.
For example, let us look at Joe Burrow & use him as the blueprint. Joe was at Ohio State spent two years as JT Barret's backup, only played ten games over those two years, and then Dwayne Haskins was named the starter which prompted Joe to leave for LSU in 2018. Joe Burrow was then able to focus solely on his new team and football. The results of this transfer led Joe to a national championship and then to become the number one pick in the 2020 NFL draft. If Joe didn't transfer does any of the success that followed actually happen?
This is why the transfer portal is necessary and key for players. These players should be allowed to choose where they want to play and adjust accordingly to fit their needs and vision of how they want their careers to pan out. And yes I understand that some people abuse the rule; however, that is with everything in life there are always some bad apples. But for these players, the ability to control your destiny is huge because everyone else is allowed to why not them.
And it's not just football players that this rule is helping. It's across the board. Look at Louisiana's basketball team. The Ragin Cajuns managed to get two big transfers this year in Greg Williams Jr. and Jordan Brown. Both players are crucial for this team's success this season. And without the portal that doesn't happen.
Why The Transfer Portal Is Hurting Schools
So to say that the transfer portal is outright hurting schools would be not true. We've seen multiple schools benefit from getting talent that may have been underappreciated, overlooked, or just disgruntled. However, there is room to say the transfer portal isn't perfect.
For certain schools lose players due to coaching departures like with Caleb Williams and OU or Montrell Johnson & Kamryn Waites with UL hurts. I understand why those players entered the portal. But it does put the old universities in a bind. I understand that the coach left but it does leave holes for these universities to fill. Also from a business perspective losing star players can potentially hurt the University's ability to fill seats. Also, it can send a bad message to not only your team but incoming recruits that "hey why are all these guys leaving?".
The Ugly Of The Transfer Portal
There is a dark side to the transfer portal. From kids receiving offers to transfer through NIL to coaches pillaging their old schools, the rule was never intended for this. The wild part is that there may be no way to fix this. It's almost as if pandora's box has been opened. As much as I like the transfer portal for players taking control of their destiny, this idea of I'm going where I can make the most money just makes me feel icky. And look I want these players paid but I prefer to do it in the light than in the dark with cheating being a possibility.
As the NIL grows it will be interesting to see how the transfer portal evolves. We are in a catch 22 where I love seeing the players take control of their destiny but I hate how certain people are abusing the rule. This is the new era of college football. It's the era of the wild wild west or rather the good, the bad, and the ugly of the transfer portal.
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