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Going Inside The NCAA’s Transfer Portal

Stories

As one prominent coach said, it’s no longer like the old days when you picked up a phone and called a contact about a potential transfer.

These days, it’s all an open book, thanks to the NCAA’s Transfer Portal, which has plenty of admirers but also its vocal detractors.

The NCAA Transfer Portal, at least for Division I Baseball, includes 1,088 names with Louisville departing graduate transfer Austin Dickey being the latest addition to a growing list of college baseball players looking for a new home.

On one hand, the Transfer Portal has been a major plus for some players and coaches. For those players with need-based aid or who simply are walk-ons with no athletic aid, it’s an easy and immediate way to be seen by other coaches should they choose to transfer. Defending national champion Vanderbilt, for instance, has two players — Austin Becker and Justin Willis — who transferred out after the season and will be immediately eligible at Texas Tech and Connecticut, respectively. On the other, some coaches have issues with the Transfer Portal. Though they admittedly find it fascinating, they’re not excited about other schools, certainly not conference foes, having easy and instant access of their transfers, especially those not on athletic aid who can freely move about the country without sitting out, per the newest transfer rules.

“The transfer portal, it’s been pretty fascinating, I think,” one coach of a national power said. “I mean, I’m not real excited about everyone being able to see which walk-ons are leaving and things like that, but it’s pretty interesting to wake up each day, check the portal, and see who’s going where. In a way, it’s kind of like our version of free agency.”

There are different ways to view the transfer numbers in the portal. Some coaches are worried that public knowledge of how many players are transferring out of their programs each summer will hurt recruiting. But these days, parents, in many cases, are knowledgeable about most situations, but it’s also naïve to suggest you can’t talk your way around it on the recruiting trail. Yes, some programs oversign. That’s a fact. But others have turnover because of coaching changes, or simply because some players aren’t getting the job done. The latter, in my opinion, is fine in some instances.

Not everyone is the same, and the portal numbers should be viewed as such.

Below, we have an in-depth look at the transfer numbers, from Fall 2018 thru Summer 2019, of every team in a Power Five conference, along with a look at the Non-P5 programs with the most transfers. And some of the numbers are interesting.

For instance, the SEC leads the way with a whopping 101 transfers, next is the ACC at 74, along with the Big 12 (55), and the Big Ten and Pac 12 are tied with 39 each. We will update these figures once the fall semester begins for everyone in a few weeks.

Without further ado, here’s how the transfer numbers break down, along with some nuggets on several teams from each league.

PORTAL NOTES

• Any player not on athletic aid may now transfer without sitting out. That change occurred when the NCAA Transfer Working Group amended bylaw 14.5.5.2. While the term used for those players is “walk-on”, it’s worth noting that players who are receiving need-based aid (but not athletic aid) may also now transfer without sitting out. It’s a rule change that’s gaining steam in discussions around college baseball.

• The team/portal figures below include any players who entered the portal from Fall 2018 thru Summer 2019. With classes beginning in a couple of weeks for most, there’s a chance some players drop off the list and choose to return to those programs, while other programs might actually add to their tallies.

• It’s worth noting the tallies below include graduate transfers, which can skew a program’s transfer total. The portal can also include anyone who tried out for a team in the fall, or who was a walk-on during the fall (no matter the amount of days practiced).

• The portal includes 1,088 names at the Division I level with 299 hailing from one of the five power conferences.

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