The Transfer Portal Meat Market is Open

Let’s all sing that new holiday favorite, “All I want for Christmas is a new Quarterback!”

At this very moment, Santa’s elves are working overtime.  The NCAA’s Transfer Portal has just opened up for business on December 4.

From now until January 2, 2024 (a 30-day window), eligible college football players may submit their names into this quickly growing pool of players seeking to transfer to another school for the upcoming spring semester.

It isn’t without risk, though.

Once the college football player submits his name into the Transfer Portal, the current school may terminate the player’s athletic scholarship after the fall semester ends and give it to another student-athlete beginning this spring.

I overheard one radio commentator yesterday saying that 85% of these transferring football players will find a new home.  Some will be happy with their new destination.  Others may find their suitors to be less than optimal.  But even that is better than the big lump of coal in the Christmas stocking for the unlucky 15%.  Those pound puppies won’t have a home soon.

“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch!”

The NCAA rules governing this relatively new (2018) game of musical chairs are not the easiest to understand.

For example, I was surprised to learn that the exiting student-athlete cannot (wink, wink) have any contact with one or more of his future collegiate destinations prior to placing his name into the NCAA’s electronic hopper.   That goes for contact with any family member, scholastic or non-scholastic coach, advisor, and former teammates of the player, too.

If you believe that, Santa and I heartily laugh, “Ho, Ho, Ho!”

For those college football players highly in demand (quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs, and defensive specialists), a change of scenery will likely mean more money from the new school’s pot of NIL gold, too.

We have entered a very aggressive one-month meat market of bidding for college football players.

In the not-too-distant past, it was the highly sought-after high school star athletes who were the primary beneficiaries of recruiting romance pitches from college coaches.

A new layer of recruiting has quickly evolved.  Colleges and existing athletes are participating in this short-term game with filled with financial rewards and high risks, too.

Another Ohio State quarterback scrambles away from Columbus!

The starting quarterback of the 11-1 Ohio State Buckeyes has placed his name into the NCAA’s Transfer Portal this week.

Kyle McCord engineered Ohio State’s miraculous comeback win over Notre Dame early in the season.  The Buckeyes entered their annual battle with rival Michigan with a spotless 11-0 record.  However, McCord threw two interceptions in Ohio State’s 30-24 loss to Michigan a couple of weeks ago.

Though Ohio State finished 11-1, the school lost a third straight annual game to its bitter rival.  The Ohio State head football coach, Ryan Day (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Popeye’s rival, Bluto) recently tossed his starting quarterback under the bus after the Buckeyes’ season ended.

Ryan Day said, “When you come up short, the bottom line is you got to look at everything, because you didn’t get it done, and that’s the thing that is just sobering here.  At 11-1, you come up short on the last possession, it’s just not good enough.  So you got to look at everything, and we will look at everything.” 

Wow, what a jerk!  Seriously, who would want to come play football for a coach like Ryan Day?

With such a ringing endorsement from his coach (sarcasm intended), Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord (who sat on the bench during his first two seasons in Columbus) has just hit the market with a nifty 11-1 winning record to show to prospective new college football teams.

By the way, Ohio State has a way of running-off talented quarterbacks.

Joe Burrow sat the pine at Ohio State for three years (earning an undergraduate degree in the process).  He then transferred to LSU.  In 2019, the team went 15-0 and won a national championship.  Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy and became the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft.

LSU football fans just love Ohio State coach Ryan Day, too!   Tiger fans wish good luck to Kyle McCord.  Baton Rouge is a great place to play football!

If you haven’t entered the NCAA Transfer Portal, time is running out!

Other notable names entering this year’s transfer portal include quarterbacks Dillon Gabriel (Oklahoma), Riley Leonard (Duke), Cam Ward (Washington State), Will Rogers (Mississippi State), Grayson McCall (Coastal Carolina), Will Howard (Kansas State) and Tyler Van Dyke (Univ. of Miami).

Some college coaches believe that it will take $1 million or more of NIL guaranteed money for one of this year’s premier quarterbacks to consider signing with their next employer (ahem, I meant university).

On the running back side, Florida’s Trevor Etienne is now on the market and should have plenty of wealthy suitors.  Texas A&M defensive lineman Walter Nolen is leaving AggieLand for greener pasture$.

Ironically, the son of Oklahoma State Cowboys’ coach, Mike Gundy, is leaving his own Dad.  OSU quarterback Gunnar Gundy just entered the transfer portal after earning his undergraduate degree while on the bench in Stillwater.

Meanwhile, University of Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders (who plays for his Dad, Deion Sanders) is reportedly earning enough money from his current NIL deals (worth around $5 million annually) that he may forego entering the NFL draft and stay for his final year in Boulder.

In case you were wondering, only the top six first-round players in the 2023 NFL draft signed for more money than young Sanders is currently making by staying at Colorado another year.

My, how times have changed!

As of today’s (December 7), nearly 2,800 college football players (half from the upper division FBS and the other half from the lower division FCS) have already entered the NCAA’s Transfer Portal.  Hundreds of other players may jump into the pool soon.

One of the most misunderstood portions of the NCAA Transfer Portal is the number of times which a student-athlete may now transfer without having to sit-out a year.

According to the NCAA’s website, here’s how that works:

“NCAA colleges allow transferring more than once. But some transfers could incur penalties. Especially if you’re transferring to a four-year college for a second time.   Let’s suppose you want to transfer to your third four-year school. Let’s also suppose that the previous two four-year colleges you attended offered your sport. In this hypothetical, the transfer is allowed but with a penalty of sitting out a year. That means you will not play and possibly not practice with the team for an entire year.” 

The NCAA requires that the new school must provide the scholarship for the rest of the incoming student’s five-year eligibility or until they complete the requirements for a bachelor’s degree (or unless the student transfers again).

Not every college football player will leave for potentially greener pastures, though.

Meet LSU back-up quarterback Garrett Nussmeier

After a redshirt year, Nussmeier just completed his third season in Baton Rouge.  Coming to Tiger Town after the departure of Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, he has spent the past two years as the back-up quarterback for the current Heisman Trophy favorite, Jayden Daniels.

With two years of college eligibility remaining, some believe that Garrett Nussmeier might be a slam-dunk to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal.  However, this Tiger (the son of former New Orleans Saints back-up quarterback and current NFL assistant coach, Doug Nussmeier) simply loves the competition, his school and the state of Louisiana.

Before the 2023 season began, Garrett Nussmeier said, “It matters to me to wear this state on my jersey. I think it means something to a lot of guys on our team. I was born in Lake Charles. My family is in Lake Charles. Being a kid who moved around so much —Louisiana was only constant in my life and every time I would cross over the border into this state, it felt like home.”

Though Nussmeier knows that LSU is likely shopping the NCAA Transfer Portal for yet another quarterback, it looks (at least for now) that he will remain and keep trying to earn the top job with the Fighting Tigers in 2024.

For his continued loyalty to LSU, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Cajun Santa Claus might be planning to drop a few NIL gifts into the Christmas stocking of Garrett Nussmeier soon.

In the year 2023, that is a very refreshing thought!