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Mid-Week Thoughts: Fixing the Transfer Portal

Is there a better solution to the transfer portal?

USF QB Byrum Brown

Nothing like mid-week thoughts to get you by until USF straps ’em up against the Florida Atlantic Owls on Saturday at 3:30 PM for its homecoming game.

I’ve been stewing on this one for a bit and I’m curious to hear the response that I get from the new, casual college football fan to someone that has been rooting for ‘X’ university/college since milk, bread, and eggs were affordable.

Let me present to you my fix for the craziness that has become the college football transfer portal…

Return to the Days of Old

The rule adjustment that is now in play since 2021 where a player can transfer once without having to sit out a year is definitely a step in the right direction since the portal was adopted in 2018.

However, has much really changed with the rule in place? From the outside looking in, we’re still seeing an extraordinary amount of transfers enter and exit the portal with the student-athlete eligible to play for their new program within the next calendar year.

Oh shoot, per ESPN, 8,699 NCAA football players entered the portal between Aug.1, 2022, and May 1, 2023 with Axios reporting that the number is 5.5% increase over last year’s then-record number (8,242) and more than double the tally from the inaugural 2018-19 cycle (4,076).

If the goal is to reduce the amount of transfers entering the portal, let me lay down my suggestions on how the transfer portal could operate in a move back to the days of old…

  • If a Division 1 FBS player decides to transfer to another FBS program, the player is ineligible for the entirety of one season UNLESS they are approved for a hardship waiver as determined by the NCAA.
  • If a Division 1 FBS player decides to transfer to another FBS program AND has completed their four-year degree, they are eligible to participate immediately.
  • If a Division 1 FBS player decides to transfer to a Division 1 FCS program (or lower classification), they are eligible to participate immediately.
  • If a player from a lower classification (i.e. Division III, Division II, NAIA, or Division 1 FCS) decides to transfer to a higher division/classification, they are eligible to participate immediately.
  • Junior College and Prep players are eligible to participate immediately (as it currently is).

The mindset would be that lateral moves in the transfer portal will result in the student-athlete sitting out a season until the next calendar year unless the student-athlete is granted a hardship waiver.

However, if an FBS player decides to transfer to a program that is of a lower classification (i.e. a player going from USF to FAMU), that student athlete can participate immediately. Similarly, if a player moves up classifications (i.e. a player going from FAMU to USF), that student athlete can participate immediately.

Here’s my question to the people: Should the rule be relaxed to allow Power 5 players to transfer to a Group of 5 program with immediate eligibility?

Should Group of 5 student-athletes receive immediate eligibility if they transfer “up” to the Power 5 level?

Questions, questions, questions…

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