NCAA Transfer Portal Working to Perfection

Critics of the NCAA Transfer Portal believe it is just an excuse for student-athletes to leave their respective programs once faced with adversity when in actuality, the portal provides them much-needed freedom to control their destiny.


Baylor University captured their first National Championship by defeating Gonzaga University in this year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament three weeks ago. If I’m honest, it feels more like three months have passed, considering how much movement we have seen transpire with student-athletes since then. Verbal Commits reports as of Tuesday, nearly 1,500 Division I players have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal, and that number will continue to increase over the summer.

Earlier this month, the NCAA Division I Council announced new legislation which now grants all student-athletes the ability to transfer one time as an undergraduate and be allowed to play for their new school immediately. Men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey, baseball and football all previously required student-athletes to file a waiver for immediate eligibility or sit out the upcoming season.

College basketball fans should not be dazed and confused by the uptick in transfers because players no longer face any hurdles in going through the process of leaving their current situation to compete right away elsewhere. They also cannot harbor resentment or outrage toward players who decide to leave because the NCAA has helped facilitate an easier route for student-athletes seeking a fresh start. However, hearing and reading feedback from people under the impression that the transfer portal is more detrimental than beneficial baffles me.

Take, for instance, the opinion of ESPN’s most popular college basketball broadcaster and analyst in Dick Vitale. Vitale took to social media and voiced his initial displeasure by tweeting, “This transferring all over the place is going to destroy our great game. The @NCAA should think twice before officially making it that players can transfer w/o sitting 1 yr. The CHAOS going on is SICKENING! Only should allow players to transfer w/o sitting when a coach leaves.”

Vitale’s words resonate emphatically with all who believe giving student-athletes increased oversight on their respective careers can only be ruinous for the entire sport. He should have just tweeted out, “Don’t let the inmates run the asylum!” instead and saved himself the extra 250 characters. How could this possibly destroy college basketball as we know it when players are leaving one Division I program for another in a majority of these transfers?

The college basketball landscape figures to go through seismic shifts moving forward should student-athletes continue transferring this consistently year in and year out. But, it provides a vast pool of players for programs to replenish their roster within the offseason aside from recruiting high school prospects. Constant movement from those who transfer will help redistribute talent around the country depending on where players land and may open the proverbial door for parity.

Regardless of whoever decides to enter the transfer portal, it is also imperative not to concoct baseless conjecture on why student-athletes are leaving in the first place. Far too often, fans find out a player is transferring and automatically speculate negatively about their departure. They will say he “wasn’t built to be here” or “took the easy way out for playing time” to justify how someone could possibly leave their favorite team. The truth is quite simple: if you know nothing about why someone has decided to transfer, conjuring up false information on social media is never the answer.

Fordham Men’s Basketball has been directly affected by the transfer portal both positively and negatively. Fordham lost one of their best players in sophomore forward Joel Soriano, who unfortunately elected to test the transfer waters and now joins St. John’s University. While it’s a major blow for the Rams and new head coach Kyle Neptune, Soriano exercised his right to move on from the program and go elsewhere. All you can do is wish Soriano the best of luck if you’re Neptune and take the necessary steps to replace his production.

Those necessary steps involve using the same transfer portal to bring in three transfers so far this offseason: forward Patrick Kelly (Pennsylvania State University), JUCO guard Antrell Charlton (Indian River State College) and guard Darius Quisenberry (Youngstown State University). Not to mention, redshirt senior forward Chuba Ohams plans on returning to Rose Hill for another season after originally putting his name in the transfer portal last month.

Student-athletes have no clue what to expect throughout their entire collegiate career. There are no assurances the program you start with as a freshman will be the same one you graduate from in your senior year. Regardless, these young men and women should undoubtedly have the right to command where that ultimately might be.