We all know that the transfer portal was created to allow current college athletes the opportunity to transfer from their current school to another program in a much easier and less personal manner. Where, once upon a time, a player would have to talk with their current coach and ask for permission to pursue a transfer to another school, the transfer portal removes all those hurdles, which means a current athlete can go straight into the portal, in some cases, with their current coach not even knowing it was happening. So yes, the portal has changed the lives of the college players tremendously. Some people love it, some hate it, but it is here too stay,
We often talk about how we live in a world where the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence. Looking at the possibilities available somewhere else has become a part of every day life where many of us look to the horizon with big dreams of something better awaiting us. This phenomenon is currently running rampant in the world of college softball. A couple weeks before the start of the 2022/2023 school year there were over 1500 softball players in the transfer portal. Now we all saw a bunch of news about the high profile kids who jumped from one school to the next but the reality appears to be that many more players who thought they were moving on to something better, have in fact, not moved anywhere.
As I have stated in earlier blogs, while I am the old school coach who liked the transfer rules before the portal came into existence, there is no doubt that for many players a change of scenery is the right thing for them to improve their opportunities and to, probably, get more playing time. Now, I understand that not all of the 1500 players still in the transfer portal are really looking to continue playing and that some of them probably have found new spots but the paperwork just hasn’t caught up yet to show the they have transferred, That being said looking at the number of players still in the transfer portal I have to wonder how successful the portal really is.
My conclusion is pretty simple but not all that earth shattering. For some players and for some programs the transfer portal is a huge win. For the highest level players and programs, the portal is almost like free agency as we see it in professional sports. The best players can shop themselves to the best programs and in some cases find a better fit than what they had before. For the high level programs they get to add a player who has a proven track record of collegiate success and the players get to choose an opportunity where they can chase their dreams and, potentially, a National Championship.
Now for all the other players who don’t quite fit mold of the top level prospects it’s a whole lot murkier. When this many players are still looking for a new softball home it can’t be a great thing for them, their families or for the program they left behind. My guess is, many of the players who didn’t find a new school went into the process thinking they were going to be just like the 4 All-Americans who have transferred to Oklahoma and have schools beating down their doors to get them to come and play for them. Now that the phone isn’t ringing off the hook, the grass isn’t really any greener. And for many of these players they are now looking at a barren wasteland of zero opportunities.
The Transfer Portal is changing everything. Some of it will sort itself out over time. But there is clearly a price being paid to learn some of these lessons.
Up Next – High School Players
Comments? Questions? Suggestions?