LUBBOCK, Texas – When the college football season comes to an end, transfers heat up.
“We used to have to go get a waiver,” said Tom McMillen, CEO of the LEAD1 Association. “Now, players can just become unhappy overnight and put his or her name into the portal.”
Just a week ago, the 45-day college football transfer portal window closed. The portal launched back in 2018 and has since become a staple of college football. When you add Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) rights to the mix, the sport looks quite a bit different.
“Kids are being incented to transfer and that’s very destabilizing for college sports,” McMillen said.
A former Maryland congressman, U.S. Olympian and 11-year NBA player, McMillen said things are a lot different from when he was coming up through the ranks.
“When you’re gonna go to the bigger and better deal all the time, it does not always work out to be the bigger, better deal,” McMillen said.
Texas Tech University (TTU) board regent and football letterman Cody Campbell has since created a NIL collective for his alma mater called The Matador Club. This past season, that collective gave $25,000 to each of Tech’s 100 football players.
“Some schools have gone out and paid big money to new recruits, and new transfers have caused a lot of issues among the team,” Campbell said. “Texas Tech has become known as a place that really does a good job with NIL, and so while we don’t induce recruits with the money, the recruits know that we take care of them.”
From Dec. 5, 2022, to Jan. 18, 2023, 16 TTU football players entered the transfer portal. Out of those, six of them found a new home. Regardless, Campbell said the future of the program still looks promising.
“We’re not going to be tampering with other people’s rosters, we’re not going to be writing the checks to recruits, we’re not going to do all that stuff,” Campbell said. “We’re going to support the kids that we have, and grow them and develop them.”
As a policy advocate for college athletic departments, McMillen has found that many players who transferred were not happy with their decisions.
“It’s certainly a brave new world,” McMillen said. “It’s not the status quo by any means. From the coach’s standpoint, it’s hard to put rosters together, they don’t know if the player is going to walk out tomorrow within those transfer windows. One good thing is that we have installed some transfer windows to limit it a little bit, but it’s pretty much unfettered free agency.”
College football players will not be able to enter their names into the transfer portal again until May 1, and the spring window only lasts 15 days. For the remaining 10 TTU players and any other players currently in the portal, they can transfer to a new school at any time this year.