Transfer portal, one-year transfer rule has coaches worried about rosters, future of their sports
Few have described what life is like for student-athletes in the transfer portal better than new ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips.
“I liken it to a game of musical chairs,” he said last Wednesday at the ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte. “That is what worries me is when the music stops and there are not enough chairs. There are no seats. There are not enough scholarships for those in the transfer portal.”
And that is exactly what is going on. When the music stops, thousands of student-athletes are left stuck in the transfer portal without a new school.
Since last August, when the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility for all student-athletes that play fall sports due to the pandemic, more than 2,500 FBS players—hundreds from the ACC—entered the transfer portal, and not all of them have found a new home.
Men’s basketball is even worse. Thanks to the new one-year transfer rule, which effects football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball, the transfer portal was flooded after the 2020-’21 basketball season was completed.
As of June 27, the NCAA had 1,788 Division I men’s basketball players in the transfer portal. Division I, Division II and Division III combined have 2,867 men’s basketball players in the portal. The Clemson Insider was told the majority of these players will not sign with anyone and will lose their ability to attend college on a basketball scholarship.
“We are working through it, as a league,” Phillips said. “Understanding what it looks like in the different sports. As mentioned, in the 27 sports, there is a different flow into the transfer experience. Some of our sports that are really at a higher percentage of student-athletes transferring than at some other Olympic sport.”
Phillips said he and the conference support the student-athletes freedom of movement, but he understands, as a former coach himself, the frustration of the coaches in the league who are having to recruit around the chaos that has become the transfer portal.
At the ACC’s spring meetings in May, it was one of the hot topics brought to the table by not only the men’s basketball coaches, but by the women’s coaches and the football coaches as well.
“I know, as a former coach very early in my career, how difficult that can be when it comes to rosters, when it comes to roster management, when it comes to maybe life lessons when things get tough. You just can’t bounce out and go somewhere else,” the Commissioner said. “I don’t think we have enough data yet to declare one way or another how we help this thing. But I think it goes back to recruiting and doing the very best job that we can to identify the prospects that fit our institutions.
“So, there is more work to come on that, and again, I feel the coaches’ frustration. It is real. But in the end, it was the right thing to do for our student-athletes.”