The NCAA is Ruining the Transfer Portal

Givanni Damico| June 8th, 2019

The NCAA is as corrupt of an organization as they come. When the idea of the transfer portal came into fruition, I loved it. I still love the concept, but the NCAA has so poorly mismanaged it to the point where it’s a popularity contest as to who’s waiver gets accepted or denied.

Beginning in October 2018, college athletes were permitted to put their name into the transfer portal in order for other schools to contact them. Just because a player puts his name in the portal does not mean that this player will inevitably transfer. It’s more of a way to test the waters to gauge interest from other schools. There are numerous circumstances in which a player may want to transfer. He may be unhappy with his playing time under his current team. He may just need a change of scenery or realized that his initial decision to commit to a certain school was the wrong decision. In other cases, players may want to get closer to sick family members. We will take a look at a few different circumstances today.

Tate Martell, QB

Transferred from Ohio State to Miami (Fla.)

Reason For Transferring: Scared of competition

Eligibility Waiver Result: Allowed to play right away

Tathan Martell was slated to be the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes in 2019 after Dwayne Haskins declared for the draft. Then Justin Fields decides to transfer to Ohio State (we will talk about him later). Nobody is entirely sure if Martell knew that he wouldn’t be able to compete with Fields for the starting job or if he just wanted to go somewhere in which there was no competition for the starting role. He’s a flashy player and a big name in college football. The NCAA accepted his eligibility waiver, allowing him to play right away, rather than having to sit out for a season. I was never a fan of the rule that made players have to sit out for a year, so at the time, I liked this decision. That is until I saw someone else’s request get denied.

Brock Hoffman, OL

Transferred from Coastal Carolina to Virginia Tech

Reason For Transferring: Mother was sick, had surgery to remove a brain tumor

Eligibility Waiver Result: Must sit out one season

Brock Hoffman is not a flashy player like Tate Martell. He shouldn’t be, he’s an offensive lineman while Martell is a quarterback. This man had a legitimate reason to move closer to home so that he could be with his mom during her recovery. According to Hoffman, the waiver was denied because Virginia Tech is 105 miles away from his home. In 2012, the NCAA changed the transfer rule so that there was a distance limitation of 100 miles between an athlete’s home and his school. Do I think that maybe, just maybe, Hoffman wanted an opportunity to play for a bigger school? Yes, I don’t doubt that. Nonetheless, if Martell’s waiver could be accepted, why not Turner?

Justin Fields, QB

Transferred from Georgia to Ohio State

Reason For Transferring: Playing time… and racism?

Eligibility Waiver Result: Allowed to play right away

This is being written by an unbiased Ohio State fan. Justin Fields may be a more household name than Tate Martell. He saw some action at Georgia, but with Jake Fromm in front of him, it was clear that he would have to wait his turn. He decided he’d rather play now somewhere else. It was clear that his main reason for transferring was so that he could play now, but he decided to use racism as a way to get his eligibility waiver result. Former Georgia Bulldogs first baseman Adam Sasser was accused of shouting a racial slur towards Fields. This guy was dismissed from the team, but Fields used this as a way to get what he wanted. Although petty, it was an intelligent move on his part because if the NCAA denied his waiver, everybody would be calling them racists. Obviously, they aren’t racists, but that’s just what would have happened with some of the more extreme people out there. The NCAA was stuck between a rock and a hard place, so they pretty much had to cave here.

Luke Ford, TE

Transferred from Georgia to Illinois

Reason For Transferring: His grandfather’s poor health and playing closer to home

Eligibility Waiver Result: Must sit out one season

The reasoning for this was the same as the reasoning for Brock Turner. The University of Illinois is 190 miles from his home and the NCAA limit is 100 miles. Rules are rules, but why can rules be twisted for some players and not others? Ford was the number one overall recruit from Illinois in 2018 and the Illini are the closest big school to his home. He still wants to be able to show off his abilities playing for a power-five school while also being closer to home.

Listen. I’m aware that the NCAA has rules about a certain radius that players have to transfer within in order to be approved right away. These rules need to be changed. Hoffman and Ford should be allowed to move closer to home while still playing for a power-five school so that they can showcase their talent and potentially get drafted into the NFL. Meanwhile, other players can transfer wherever they please and play right away. This is an inconsistency that the NCAA needs to address. The transfer portal is a fantastic idea, but they’re not operating it properly.

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