Nazim Trammell-Wells | Staff Writer
In late 2018, the NCAA introduced the NCAA Online Transfer Portal, which grants student-athletes more freedom to switch schools. A few big names have entered the transfer portal, including Tate Martell and Jalen Hurts. Martell, Hurts and more will be looking to take their talents elsewhere for next year’s college football season.
“I think that [the portal] is beneficial to any athlete that is trying to find a new start,” Hampton lacrosse player Amadou Tall said. “The only negative I see is that it might cause a conflict between athletes, coaches and other administration.”
That happened recently as Oklahoma blocked the transfer of quarterback Austin Kendall, who wanted to leave after he saw the school would be accepting Hurts, an Alabama QB transfer. Eventually, Oklahoma let Kendall go, but the big hesitation was when Kendall’s desired destination was in-conference rival West Virginia University.
In another high-profile case, former Georgia quarterback Justin Fields transferred to Ohio State University. In 2017, Fields was the No. 1 quarterback in the nation coming out of high school.
However, when he arrived at Georgia, he sat behind the starter, Jake Fromm. Fromm is only one year ahead of Fields, meaning that by the time Fields would have been able to play, he would be a junior. He saw this as an opportunity to go elsewhere. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins had just declared for the NFL Draft, and the Buckeyes’ QB slot was wide open.
Martell had been waiting for his opportunity to lead Ohio State. But once Fields transferred, it became clear that Martell had no intentions of staying to possibly sit behind another quarterback.
“I think the portal offers you a better chance to find a better fit because it allows any school in the country to contact you without your school’s permission, [which] previously was a lot harder,” Hampton football offensive lineman Matt Ahearn said. “I feel the main issue will be playoff contending teams being hesitant to send off their other players because now it doesn’t matter where you transfer.”
The portal is definitely in favor of the players, and many players think it has no negative impact on the game.
“I feel like as time goes on, it’s going to only get better,” Ahearn said.
Many coaches on the other hand feel as if the portal is acting as a free-agency type of tool. In the past, transfers were only talked about among coaches and their circles. Now, the portal offers athletes a chance to be seen by everyone in the country.
The NCAA has indicated the portal is here to stay, so many more players likely will be on the move for seasons to come.