As 2022 winds down, hundreds of college football players will soon be traveling to bowl games in various parts of the country. And hundreds of others will be off to a different destination: The transfer portal.
Created by the NCAA in 2018, the transfer portal has quickly become a key pillar of college sports – a resource for athletes, a program-building tool for coaches and a never-ending source of intrigue for fans. But some of the mechanics of the portal remain misunderstood.
With this year’s college transfer market beginning to heat up, here’s a look at how the portal works, how it’s evolved in recent years and how it can benefit both athletes and coaches alike.
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What is the college transfer portal and how does it work?
A 2019 article on the NCAA’s website describes the transfer portal as a “compliance tool to systematically manage the transfer process from start to finish.”
Put more simply: It’s a database.
The NCAA made this database in an attempt to simplify the first step in the transfer process. In the pre-portal days, athletes would have to ask their coach for permission to contact other schools, then find ways to get the word out that they were available. Coaches, meanwhile, would have to use their connections and word-of-mouth referrals to identify transferring athletes. Now, it’s all just there in one spot.
The portal is not, however, a shortcut for the rest of the recruiting process. Coaches still have to recruit. Athletes still have to ensure they’re eligible to compete at a new school. The portal is simply a way to help the two sides connect more easily, and earlier.
What does entering the transfer portal mean?
Because the transfer portal is really just an online database, entering it just means that an athlete’s name is uploaded to the database.
When an athlete decides they want to explore transferring to another school, they have to notify their current school’s compliance office. And the compliance office then has two business days to put that athlete’s name in the portal.
Is the transfer portal the same for every sport?
While football and basketball might get the most media talk (and fan interest), yes, the transfer portal database includes athletes for all sports.
When does the transfer portal open?
The NCAA’s Division I council announced earlier this fall that it would be creating 60-day transfer windows for athletes in each sport, built around the typical schedule of the season. For fall and spring sports it’s split into one 45-day window tied to that sport’s championship schedule and a separate 15-day window about five months later.
In the Football Bowl Subdivision, the 45-day window opened Dec. 5. It will close Jan. 18, then be followed by a 15-day transfer window from May 1 to May 15.
It’s worth noting that these windows restrict when an athlete’s name can be entered into the portal, not when they actually transfer to a different school.
Can you still stay at your school if you enter the transfer portal?
Absolutely, though it’s somewhat rare in high-level college football. According to NCAA data, only 5% of FBS athletes who entered the transfer portal in 2020 or 2021 later withdrew and are assumed to be back at their original school.
How many players are in the 2022 transfer portal?
The transfer portal is not accessible to the public, so there is no way to check this figure in real-time for college football.
However, multiple news outlets do track this on their own and make the figures available. One of those trackers, maintained by college sports outlet On3.com, listed more than 1,200 football players in the transfer portal as of Wednesday night.
Because many athletes also announce their transfer intentions on social media, we know there are plenty of big names already in the portal this winter, including former Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong and Arizona wide receiver Dorian Singer.
Story Credit: usatoday.com