Today’s Topic: What To Do With Players Stranded In the Transfer Portal?
The grass isn’t always greener in the NCAA’s transfer portal. In fact, sometimes there isn’t any grass at all.
Currently, there are hundreds of players in the transfer portal who have nowhere to go. Some could return to their old schools, provided those schools haven’t moved on and would actually welcome them back. That’s not typical, however, because once a player enters the portal, the school can use that scholarship on somebody else — and most do.
Instead, for those who couldn’t find greener grass and weren’t allowed to come back home, they wait for coaches to come calling. The problem, however, is that most of those coaches don’t have scholarship room available. They are at — or above — the 85 limit.
May typically sees an increase in transfers because spring football is over and players know where they stand. If they don’t like that standing, they leave.
The players who are coveted enough will find homes. Those who aren’t, sit and wait.
But what if they didn’t have to?
Earlier this year, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day was asked about the transfer portal and suggested that teams be capped at being allowed to bring in two transfers per year.
“We’re kind of going with it year in and year out, trying to deal with it, adjust with it,” Day said. “I think there are certainly situations where a kid should be able to play. There’s certain sports where guys can transfer and play right away.
“I am in favor of somebody transferring sitting out and getting the year back on the back end. I also am in favor of capping the transfers [into a school] to two per institution per calendar year. But willing to listen to other arguments.
“As I sit here right now, that’s kind of my thought. I know there’s going to be great discussion this spring moving forward. Looking forward to being a part of those.”
There were always going to be some unhappy beta testers in the transfer portal. Those there now will be the cautionary tales. If there was more uniformity to it, however, maybe players wouldn’t go in blindly.
By capping it at two, that puts a number on available slots. My suggestion would then for those transfers to not count against that year’s 85 scholarships.
Teams could sign two transfers and be at 87, then they’d have the next year to get back to 85 before they sign two more transfers.
By putting a cap on the amount of transfers, players would at least know how much room there was on the open market. It might not change their decision, but it gives them more information. It may also keep them from making a decision they’ll regret later on down the line.
Of course, the better solution is simply to increase the scholarship limit to 90 or so. There’s more money than ever, and certainly more money available than there was when the reductions began.
So if the NCAA doesn’t want the transfer portal to become transfer purgatory, then either don’t count them against the cap, or raise the cap.
All the while continuing to educate the players on the actual — and fleeting — available options on the open market.