By : Elijah Campbell
College Football is the new professional league. Just like the NFL, College athletes now have free range to transfer to any program of their choice if they have eligibility. The world of Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) allows collegiate athletes to make their choice not because of the academics of the institution, but because of the amount of money. Entering the Transfer Portal has become the makeup and DNA of Collegiate Athletics. This has robbed the game of its rich traditions. Ten years ago, kids used to dream of going to a school due to the traditions and the rivalries that the game brought to the table. Some of the best traditions such as Howards Rock at Clemson mean less due to the Transfer Portal and the influence of Name, Image, Likeness (NIL).
The Transfer Portal has had positives on the game of football. The transfer portal has produced talent to spread across the country and the fruits of its labor have been displayed throughout the 2023 season. Let’s take the Colorado Buffaloes for example. Colorado won one game last season before their famous hire of NFL legend Deion Sanders. The Buffaloes were ranked at one point this year and even though their season is at a standstill, the impact of the transfer portal propelled them to a much better season with more football left to be played than the previous year. Transfers are also going to teams that have the best chance of performing at a high level. When a player comes out of High School more times than not the player is chasing after that “D1” scholarship. Everybody wants to be the best of the best. Everybody wants to go to an Alabama or Georgia, but the reality is that these programs utilize the transfer portal as well. If a High School athlete does get the chance to go to these “cream of the crop” programs the expectation is to produce quickly because you’re surrounded by guys that have experience. The Transfer Portal also is heavily utilized by Group of Five schools. These schools will use the portal to keep up and compete with Power Five Schools. Maybe a player didn’t work out at an Alabama, A team like Troy or Liberty would pick up that player quickly.
There are a few things that stand out to me when discussing the transfer portal and the frequency of the transfer portal use. The first thing that comes to mind is that it is nearly impossible for coaches to be able to plan. Everything is about the present time. You constantly have players coming in and out of college programs. This must be the toughest era of coaching since your team can look different every single year. The second thing that stands out is that these are still prestigious colleges and universities that players are signing contracts to attend. When you transfer you lose credits which prolongs the graduation process if that is even a goal in mind. I’ve played collegiate ball and I’ve also transferred. I can speak to the impact that transferring can do for a young man or woman in a positive and negative way. Transferring also impacts your draft stock. Professional scouts look at transfers and the first question they ask is “Why did you transfer?” They have every right to ask this because they want to make sure you would be a great fit for their professional program. The last thing that stands out to me is the near impossible chance for High School athletes to get recruited unless you’re a phenom. The room for development and coaches taking the time out to develop you is small. Let’s use Colorado as an example again. Deion has rebuilt the look of his team by transfers alone. To keep a job in this business you must win games. That is the bottom line. Coaches aren’t taking the chance on High school athletes anymore because you must have instant results. The best thing High School athletes can do is get in front of college coaches early. Coaches are filling up their roster spots fast. scoutSMART can help assist players with getting in front of college coaches. This is something I wish I could have had access to when I was in high school.
To conclude, the transfer portal is a good thing when it comes to keeping things exciting. You never know who may end up on top. It’s any team’s season as I like to put it. It is simply not just one team’s season and everybody else falls behind. The ugly thing is that if not controlled, the transfer portal can poison everything we have come to love and know about college football. Lastly, high school athletes must work ten times harder to get a shot and develop their game. My advice would be to stay humble and hungry because with the high turnover rate and uncertainty that we are seeing, who knows when it’s your time to shine.