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Saturday Roundtable - Transfer Portal: Good or Bad?

I ask the staff.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - First Round - Columbus Photo by Tyler Schank/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

If it’s Saturday, even during the NFL Draft, it’s the roundtable. Today we are focusing on the transfer portal.

We’ve seen interviews with Matt Painter, and numerous other college basketball coaches, saying that the transfer portal is bad and that they wish it didn’t exist. So my question is this, is the transfer portal good or bad? And why? Defend your answer.

Jumbo Heroes:

Honestly, there are good and bad things about every change made to college sports. I’m a firm believer that the players deserve to be able to find the best spot for them even if that means they’ve got to break their initial commitment to a school. Do you remember how dumb you were at 16-18 years old when most of these young people make the decision on the college they will go to? I can’t imagine making a decision like that at that age that could very well impact my future playing the sport I love, I understand most of us made a choice for college at that point, but there’s a little more on the line for a lot of these players. I also understand while coaches are frustrated with it, especially coaches from mid-majors. They put in so much work to bring these players into their program, work with them, build them up, and then if they either do too good a job they take a step up, or if they don’t find a way to make them a key cog they might lose them.

It’s a tough situation for the coaches but I’m happy the players have the opportunity. What I would like to see is an update to the rules to allow for at most two transfers. A player could become immediately eligible (assuming good academic standing) upon their first two transfers but any after that they’ve either got to go down a level or sit out a year. Also, if a coach leaves every player gets to transfer if they want and it doesn’t count toward their two. I’m not married to these ideas either so if there’s a better solution I’m ready to hear it.


Much like most things in college athletics, the transfer portal is a great option for athletes in theory but how it’s regulated is dumb. Allowing a student athlete to transfer allows them to be in the best possible situation for them. As Matt has stated, the grass isn’t always greener, but giving that option to an athlete is a good idea. Where the NCAA makes it dumb is eligibility through the transfer portal, like when a player wants to move closer to home for a sick relative but has to sit out a year. The transfer portal is basically free agency for college athletes, and it’s just another ball that coaches need to juggle in their jobs. I do not envy them, but I think the freedom of choice is ultimately a good thing.


I think the portal is a good thing to help players leverage some inequalities that existed prior to it and NIL. That being said, the wild west version they have now is a bit ridiculous and needs some curtailing. I believe college sports should go to a format that requires players to attend their school for a minimum of three semesters prior to the ability to transfer openly via the portal. For those that enter college early, they could enter the portal in the spring after their first full freshman season and those entering traditionally would still be able to enter after the completion of their sophomore year. In this format, players would still have 3 to 4 years of eligibility left while cutting the numbers in the portal more. I also think the immediate graduate transfer rule should be waived as well unless a student-athlete has good academic standing (say a 2.75 GPA or higher).

This rule in sports that cross semesters (basketball, wrestling, swimming), should be modified to allow summer sessions for academic progress to count IF that student-athlete attends what their institution deems as a full-time schedule for a summer session. That could easily be 8 to 10 credit hours rather than what Purdue deems a full-time class load of 12 during the fall and spring semesters. This would allow a student-athlete to attend their full freshman year plus a summer session before transferring an opportunity to have three or even four years of eligibility left. A student who holds good academic standing of 2.75 from their institution should be given the opportunity to transfer after the completion of their second semester.

The portal has so much potential for good for student athletes, in terms of helping them find the fit that they believe truly benefits them. However, the execution was really poor and seemed like the NCAA just threw their hands up to avoid any sort of court case from anyone. This is another case where the NCAA had the potential for so much good and their decisions just ended up creating more havoc and fell flat.


The answer to this question is going to vary depending on who you are asking. I’m a fan and my viewpoint is going to be different than players, coaches and universities. Obviously, the transfer portal is designed for players so the answer from the player perspective is mostly going to be yes, the portal is good. It allows players to seek better fits and more playing time immediately with no waiting period. Many players find themselves in bad situations, maybe they are being treated wrongly by a coach, or maybe they’re new home just isn’t what they thought it was going to be. Some even find that their talents would be better served elsewhere, and they are willing to work hard and do what it takes to get there. The transfer portal helps these players leave these negative situations. However, it also may hurt players who aren’t looking to transfer and then all of the sudden half of their teammates transfer and their team looks completely different every year even if they stay with the same school. For coaches, they have started to revolve more and more around pulling star athletes out of the transfer portal. This is great if there are certain players that they are hoping to get, but theres’ no guarantee that they can always get the players they want. Relying on the transfer portal to fill team needs does nothing for any athletic program, it simply serves as a bonus that coaches are starting to rely on a little too much to fill team needs. An inflow and outflow of players drastically changes the dyamic of a team. Sometimes that can be good, many times it’s bad.

From a low or mid-major perspective I’ve heard coaches complain about their star players being picked off left and right by high-major programs. But what you don’t hear is how happy they are when programs like WKU land a player like Brandon Newman, a huge recruit out of High School that WKU would never have a shot at, that just didn’t work at the high level and now can be a star for a mid-major program.

From my perspective as a fan, I hate it. I want to see players commit to my school and stay there. I want to see them develop and work through any adversity that comes there way. I love older teams that I’ve watched from freshman into seniors. Sometimes it just doesn’t work, and prior to the transfer portal, transferring was still an option, but players had to be really sure it is what they wanted because there were repercussions. I’m not opposed to all transfers; I just think, like the NIL, there needs to be some sort of control/rules with it.


There are obvious pros and cons to the portal, but one sad downside that stands out to me is the way that the transfer portal limits the growth of smaller programs.

There will always be Cinderella stories in March (as I’m sure none of us need reminding), but the long-lasting impacts of a crazy March Madness run are a thing of the past. Sure, there’s some relatively significant financial incentive for the small schools who win a game or two, but take Saint Peter’s for example. After having a miracle run that will undoubtedly be the school’s best sports moment in our lifetimes, there was a mass exodus. From players and coaches, all the way down to the equipment staff, the program was picked clean, leaving nothing to build on and no reason for locals to come to the next season-opener.

And look, even in an era before the transfer portal, I get that the idea of a program like Saint Peter’s turning into a powerhouse seems farfetched anyway, but at least it used to feel like there was a chance, right?