College football has always been a dynamic and competitive sport where players and coaches constantly strive to improve their performance and achieve their goals. However, in recent years, the landscape of college football has changed dramatically thanks to the introduction of the transfer portal.
What is College Football’s Transfer Portal?
The transfer portal is an online database that allows college football players to explore their options and seek a transfer to another school without losing their eligibility or scholarship. It also allows coaches to contact and recruit players who have entered the portal without violating rules or regulations.
The transfer portal was created by the NCAA in 2018 to streamline the transfer process and give more freedom and transparency to the players and the schools. It replaced the previous system, where players had to obtain permission from their current school to contact other schools and where coaches could block or restrict their transfers.
The transfer portal has significantly impacted college football, creating a new player movement and competition era. It has also generated significant interest and controversy, raising questions about the players’ loyalty, commitment, stability, and the programs they deliberate.
How Does the Transfer Portal Work?
To be immediately eligible to play at their new school through the NCAA’s one-time free transfer rule, athletes must enter the portal within one of the designated windows. For football players, these windows are either 30 days beginning the Monday after the conference championship games end or 15 days in the spring. Graduate transfers, on the other hand, can enter the portal at any time.
After entering the portal, a player can choose a new school or remain at their current one, provided they meet the enrollment criteria. It’s important to note that although players must enter their name in the portal within the designated window, they are not obligated to decide on their new destination by the time the window closes.
When a college athlete enters his name into the transfer portal, he becomes eligible to be contacted by coaches from other schools who may offer him a scholarship or a spot on their team. The athlete can remove his name from the portal anytime, provided he has not already signed a financial aid agreement with another school.
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Additionally, the athlete can enter the portal multiple times if he has not used up his one-time transfer exception or exhausted his eligibility.
What Are Some Notable Examples of the Transfer Portal?
The transfer portal has produced some of the most notable and impactful examples of player movement in college football history. Here are some of the examples of the portal:
- Joe Burrow: The quarterback transferred from Ohio State to LSU in 2018 after losing the starting job to Dwayne Haskins. He led the Tigers to a national championship in 2019, winning the Heisman Trophy and breaking several records. He was drafted first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020.
- Justin Fields: The quarterback transferred from Georgia to Ohio State in 2019 after being named backup to Jake Fromm. He led the Buckeyes to two consecutive College Football Playoff appearances, finishing third in the Heisman voting in 2019 and 2020. He was drafted 11th overall by the Chicago Bears in 2021.
- Jalen Hurts: The quarterback transferred from Alabama to Oklahoma in 2019 after being replaced by Tua Tagovailoa. He led the Sooners to a Big 12 title and a College Football Playoff berth, finishing second in the Heisman voting. He was drafted in the second round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020.
- Kyler Murray: The quarterback transferred from Texas A&M to Oklahoma in 2016 after sharing the starting job with Kyle Allen. He led the Sooners to a Big 12 title and a College Football Playoff berth, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2018. He was drafted first overall by the Arizona Cardinals in 2019.
- Baker Mayfield: The quarterback transferred from Texas Tech to Oklahoma in 2014, after losing the starting job to Davis Webb. He led the Sooners to three Big 12 titles and two College Football Playoff appearances, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2017. He was drafted first overall by the Cleveland Browns in 2018.