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Friday Flakes: The Unintended Consequences of the Transfer Portal (Updated 10:40 a.m.)

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Bummer for some. Awesome for others.

Nebraska v Rutgers Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

It appears difficult to get the actual numbers but according to Coach Grabowski of the Coach & Coordinator Podcast it appears regarding the 2021 transfer portal that 72% have not found a new school which includes a scholarship.

As Sports Illustrated pointed out (their number is 1,500) that “only” 964 of those players were scholarship players.

Whatever the official numbers may, I find it somewhat concerning, there are going to be a large number of scholarship players who took some bad advice or even may have been pushed out by a coaching staff.

It is true that if there are 1,500 kids in the transfer portal there may be 1,500 different reasons that the kid decided to transfer so this is not hating on the kid.

However, the combination of the immediate one-time eligibility for players as well as an ability to “open up scholarships” for coaching staffs appears to make it an easier decision to enter the portal than maybe perhaps it should be.

From an uninformed perspective I think there are a large portion of the players who were highly recruited out of high school and thought that they are still going to be highly recruited when they enter the transfer portal. Somebody is going to take a former four-star quarterback right?

According to 24/7’s ratings there are 10 quarterbacks currently waiting in the portal who had a 4-star rating coming out of high school. For the 2021 “transfer portal class” there have been 21 other 4-star quarterbacks who have found a new home. Thirteen of those 21 quarterbacks will no longer be playing at a power five school. Those 13 are taking a “step down.”

That situation may have worked out exactly how those kids wanted it to happen. Possibly a better chance for playing time. Maybe a better relationship with the next coaching staff. Better culture.

What about Luke McCaffrey? Thoughts were that he could go play for his dad, but his brother took that opportunity. I have been of the opinion that one of Frost’s biggest mistakes in his early tenure was believing they could turn an athlete who played one year of quarterback in high school into a Big Ten quarterback.

McCaffrey might end up proving them right. However, with the underwhelming quarterback play in 2020 it would have been nice to have a more polished quarterback to turn to when Adrian Martinez was struggling.

It could have made the difference in several games, which could have changed the outside perspective of the program. It likely would have changed the inside perspective of the program as well.

Currently, McCaffrey is still looking for his new home. He wants to play quarterback. I have not heard whether he is hearing from schools or if he has options. Possibly he may be waiting until after spring ball where there may be some additional openings.

Maybe he’ll end up like many of the other players in the transfer portal. From the Sports Illustrated article by Ross Dellenger:

“Right now, there are a lot of kids in the portal that are not going to find scholarships,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby says. “There may be twice as many people in the portal as there are places to transfer. There will be some who won’t be able to go to college if they don’t get a scholarship.”

This isn’t to say that the transfer portal is bad. I think giving more power to players is good. This may be a learning process for the “student athlete” and the current student athletes are going to get burned as they were tossed into it first.

Who knows, maybe this will all be moot if players can start getting paid. I promise you any contract they sign will likely make it more difficult for them to leave. If Husker Auto Group or a local Applebee’s decided to start sponsoring Wan’Dale Robinson in 2020, they probably would have made sure he stayed in Lincoln.


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