Ds Scholarship

College football ‘transfer portal’ stamps ticket to player empowerment

College athletes are navigating a new world. In the past year, the NCAA, the governing body college sports, has opened new opportunities. Alongside the option to earn income from use of their “name, image, likeness” in advertising, players now have the right to seek a transfer of schools one time during their college careers.

The resulting upheaval is already evident: More than 3,000 student-athletes across the NCAA’s three divisions have entered the so-called transfer portal. They include players moving to top Division I football teams, but also players like Alonzo “Ace” Colvin from Baltimore, who hopes to go pro but faces an uphill climb as he heads to Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa.

Why We Wrote This

Forget the fiefdom of the all-powerful coach. In football and beyond, college sports programs face a culture change as players win new rights – with an accompanying blend of freedom and risk.

Across the NCAA, one of the biggest implications of all this is a culture shift. With players having newfound leverage, college coaches can no longer operate in dictatorial fashion. Instead, pressure is rising for coaches to continue resonating with players on a personal level beyond the high school recruiting process, or risk losing them.

As Matt Brown, a sports reporter with a newsletter on college sports, says, “It’s changed how coaches coach, it’s changed how schools recruits, and it’s changed how athletes approach their own recruitment.”

Alonzo Colvin goes by “Ace,” a family nickname. He hopes to work in film after college, eventually making his way up to a director’s seat. But first, he’s attempting to achieve his goal of becoming a professional football player.

Compared with past generations of student-athletes, Mr. Colvin has more potential avenues he can take. He’s currently an outgoing first-year player at ASA College’s junior college football program in Miami. But in hopes of additional playing time – and game film to present to programs once his junior college career conclusions – he intends to transfer to Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa.

Mr. Colvin is able to explore new options without penalty through a new rule on one-time transfers approved in April by the NCAA, college athletics’ governing body. The rule allows all student-athletes one opportunity to transfer colleges without losing a season of eligibility or sitting out an entire year. (Student-athletes have four years of eligibility, plus a redshirt practice season.)

Why We Wrote This

Forget the fiefdom of the all-powerful coach. In football and beyond, college sports programs face a culture change as players win new rights – with an accompanying blend of freedom and risk.

“We’re more than just athletes. We’re not robots,” Mr. Colvin says. “You get a full scholarship, but there’s more to it.”

His experience, modest as it may sound, is a sign of tectonic shifts underway in college athletics. Changes by the NCAA in recent years also include the 2018 launch of a player database called the “transfer portal” and last year’s approval of “name, image, likeness” (NIL) profit opportunities for players.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here