Just … please, just wait a minute

Every now and then, I wish the NCAA Transfer Portal worked in real life, and I could put somebody in it and send them to another place.

Or I could get in it and send me to another place.

Sigh …

If only life were that simple.

If only the two-year-old transfer portal were that simple.

Until April 2021, the NCAA allowed student-athletes to transfer and be eligible to play at their new chosen institution after sitting out a year. But that was eliminated that Spring of ’21, nearly two years ago, when the NCAA granted its student-athletes a one-time waiver to transfer with no penalty. And with immediate eligibility.

And it has been a musical chairs stemwinder since. 

Throw in the NIL stuff, and what we’ve witnessed since is a Saturday night barn dance in fast forward.

Coaches move around. College professors and administrators move around. Even writers. Great. Players should be allowed to do the same thing.

But … there is a not-so-great side. The NCAA data, at least so far, reveals that only half of the student-athletes entering the transfer portal enroll in a different school. The other half goes to a non-NCAA school, plays another sport, quits ball, withdraws from the portal, or drops out of school.

No team. No degree.

There are students with scholarships who get into the portal, sacrifice their scholarship, and then … can’t get on a team.

There is always going to be a spot for the elite athlete. There are some players who are going to play, a lot, at any school they wish. They aren’t gambling when they enter the portal. And you’d think that most of the time, they are moving to a program that they’ll enjoy more, for any amount of reasons.

But that’s not a big number of athletes. Only a handful from the tens of thousands can play anywhere.

And some athletes made the wrong decision out of high school, again, for any number of reasons. That’s why there was a transfer rule to begin with.

Warning: a person would be dumb as a bag of ankle tape to take any advice I might have. I can share experience, but never advice. So this is just an observation.

This current bunch of college students has never really had to wait. Most of them have never heard a dial tone. Never had to wait for the newspaper to get thrown into the yard. They’ve had microwaves and most always a drive-thru. Automatic banking, one of the great inventions of modern man. Pay at the pump. Cell phone. Audio books and books online.

And all that stuff is awesome. Wonderful. I’d cry if I couldn’t fast-forward through commercials.

But we were trained to wait, just because a lot of smart people hadn’t come along yet to invent things that would allow us to wait less, (and thank you for that, Mr. or Mrs. Online Music Inventor So I Can Listen To Tom. T. Hall Whenever I Want To Person).

We knew there was such a thing as waiting. Today’s gang, not so much. Waiting your turn can be a drag, but it’s not a death sentence.

A suggestion might be to think about why you chose State U. in the first place. Revisit those feelings. Maybe school could be about more than playing time. And players get hurt. And players get better. You never know what the next wave will bring in …

What a lot of Transfer Portal People will miss is relationships you build with a coach, your teammate, the managers and trainers, your academic advisor. You don’t build any history with your professors, the custodians, the staff, the grounds crew …

For most of us, it might be worth the waiting. Sometimes it’s wise to wait. And see.

Again, only half of student-athletes who’ve entered the transfer portal have enrolled in a different school. Of all the student-athletes who signed Wednesday and in December to play football for whatever schools, you wonder where they’ll be, or be heading to, next year at this time. 

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu or on Twitter @MamaLuvsManning