It’s time for everybody to make their New Year’s Resolutions.
I’ll go first.
My resolution is to do my level best, journalistically, to stop or at least minimize the havoc that has been wreaked on collegiate football by the ultra-liberal, free-wheeling guidelines of the transfer portal.
There, I said it.
We need more people — particularly sports officials — to take a similar stand. Otherwise, the transfer portal is going to destroy collegiate athletics as we know it.
In fact, it’s already well on its way.
When the transfer portal was first introduced in October of 2018, it seemed like a pretty reasonable idea. But then the other high-top shoe dropped.
Hey, let’s give the athletes a one-time opportunity to enter the transfer portal and change schools without having to sit out a year.
It sounded like Independence Day for athletes.
But then the revolving door began to turn and turn and spin completely out of control.
Don’t believe it?
Just examine the numbers, courtesy of Sports Illustrated. They’ve become nothing less than staggering.
Since Aug. 1, 911 FBS scholarship players have entered the transfer portal. Of the 911, just 32 withdrew from the portal, while 243 (27.6%) announced they had transferred to new schools.
Think about that.
Two hundred forty-three athletes already have transferred to new schools — and football season isn’t even over yet.
Remember when college sports were about loyalty and tradition and values? My generation does. But this generation? Not so much. And it’s not even this generation’s fault. They were given a free pass. Let’s call it a get-out-of-this-program-free card.
Who can blame them for taking it?
The problem is it never should have been offered. Think not? Well, here’s where the other sneaker drops. Yes, 243 athletes in the transfer portal have found new schools. But what is going to become of the 636 athletes who still remain in the transfer portal?
Do they turn into orphans?
As so many of us have learned — let’s call it experience — the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. That’s the brutally hard lesson some of these 636 scholarship players, who still are in the portal, will learn.
Particularly since it didn’t have to be that way. There was nothing wrong with the old rule that made an athlete sit out a year in order to transfer. When that mandate existed, the athlete had to think long and hard about whether he wanted to transfer or not.
Athletes are leaving on a whim. Not getting enough playing time? I’m out of here. Don’t like the weather? I’m out of here. Don’t like the school colors? I’m out of here.
Yes, it has gotten that out of control.
In this case, too much freedom isn’t a good idea, and it leads to a rather telling paradox: A school’s fans are expected to be loyal, but the athletes aren’t.
What a premise.
Yet that’s where we find ourselves because of the transfer portal.
Conceptually, it’s a good idea. But it has to be a two-way street, not the one-way avenue it is now.
The current rules of the transfer portal are ruining college athletics.
We can sit idly by and watch it happen, or we can resolve to fix the problem.
I’ve already made my choice.