College football’s offseason is barely a month old, but it has the potential to be one of the wilder ones in recent memory. Much of the chaos surrounding the NCAA’s most popular sport must be attributed to this new dandy thing called the transfer portal.
In the past, players had to seek permission from their coaches and schools in order to transfer. But this past October, the NCAA gave transfers more freedom with the invention of the transfer portal. Teams could no longer block players from seeking opportunities elsewhere.
The transfer portal has turned into a marketplace of such for college athletes. Players could freely put their names in it and teams can see who is available. A plethora of players have already seamlessly transferred the past month thanks to the new system.
While it has been kind to players seeking opportunities elsewhere, some people find themselves on the other end of the spectrum. One of those people, in particular, is Penn State head coach James Franklin, who spoke at length about this issue at his post-Signing Day press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Franklin discussed how the creation of the portal was an overreaction to the previous rules and it has practically brought free agency to college football. Overall, Franklin is most worried about the portal taking away from the mental toughness of battling for and winning a starting job.
The Penn State coach has a point there. It has been evident this offseason that players who believe they are not in line for significant roles with their teams enter the portal seeking out schools that will give them chances at more playing time.
There are two sides to that argument. For one, there is the old adage of sticking the course and fighting for a starting job. But at the same time, if a player is nearing the end of their college career and wants more playing time or a chance at improving their NFL prospects, then they might go to a school that gives them that opportunity.
This offseason alone, Penn State has seen 13 players enter into the transfer portal. Notable names include Juwan Johnson, Brandon Polk, Jarvis Miller, and Lamont Wade. Wade announced he will be staying at Penn State, but the rest are nearing the end of their collegiate careers and see the writing on the wall. There might just be no role for them at Penn State they are comfortable with, so who can fault them for wanting to go elsewhere?
Franklin made it clear that this was not a Penn State problem, but we can be sure that the high number of Nittany Lions to enter the portal had an impact on the way Franklin was feeling. None may be high impact players, but some of them may still have had a role in 2019.
Moving forward, odds are the portal is not going away, and that is something that Penn State and all teams are going to have to deal with. Players will do what’s best for them and that is the matter of fact.
The transfer portal, college football’s free agency, is here to stay.
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