Entering the transfer portal can be a vital move for any college athlete, and we’ve seen success stories as well as failures when athletes decide to take this leap. Deciding to transfer isn’t exactly the easiest decision to make–there are many things to consider and take into account for what is going to best benefit you. Some athletes transfer for better opportunities, a starting job, or just to find a better university for academics.
Sometimes the hardest part is knowing when the time is right. Here are four signs it may be time to explore other options.
New coach in town
Coaching changes can really turn a program’s outlook on its head. Whether for better or worse, a regime change will shift the amount of recruits and the retention of athletes already at the university. A recent example of this is Caleb Williams and other Oklahoma athletes exiting the program when head coach Lincoln Riley left for USC. While in their case they were following a coach, incoming recruits decommitted and current athletes left for new universities. From the looks of it, Williams made the right decision, as he fit Riley’s system and was more than capable of helping lead USC’s football program through the transition. A new coach may come into a player’s university and it doesn’t work out, either in the system or a myriad of reasons pertaining to the coach or the player. Making a decision to enter the portal right then and there may be mutually beneficial, or they may need to see it through a year.
Related: Rate your Coaches, Facilities, and Campus Visits
The NCAA cites that in 2021, 3,092 athletes entered the transfer portal as graduate students. Graduate athletes often have different priorities than their undergraduate peers–for instance, a graduate athlete may decide to transfer because the graduate program of their choice isn’t available at their university..
Eligibility also plays a role in a graduate’s decision to transfer, as a change in scenery may help in the potential transition from collegiate to pro, and if you’ve got the eligibility left, why not play another season? Exposing your play to two different markets in different periods of your academic career can boost your visibility too–both in potential NIL deals and the professional scouting arena.
Related: 3 Things For Graduate Transfers To Consider During the Transfer Process
Your studies don’t match up anymore
Academics are the primary reason you are at a university to begin with. You may have found yourself in a position where you don’t find yourself challenged in the classroom, or maybe the relationship you have in your major isn’t up to par anymore. Finding a school to compete at is crucial to your athletic career, but academia shouldn’t play second fiddle. The marriage between a solid academic program and a beneficial athletic one should be mutual, so you may transfer to fall in love with your course work again.
Related: 5 Reasons Grades are Important as an Athletic Recruit
A loss in playing time
Losing the starting job can be the blow to the chest that may lead to a transfer. Playing time is huge to any athlete, being in the competition in any regard is why you play the sport. A transfer doesn’t guarantee playing time or a starting gig, but might be a necessary change to see that time. Find a program that adheres to your play style or one that you think you can benefit from.
College athletes transfer for plenty of different reasons. If you decide to take that leap, be sure to listen to recruiters, coaches, and other athletes to find the best fit to support you, your academics, and the playing time you want.
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* Originally published on November 2, 2022, by Jenaro DelPrete