1. Can I enter the transfer portal without my coach knowing?
Yes, but it’s not recommended. Athletes can go directly to the athletic department’s administration to get put into the transfer portal. The school’s administrator will send the athlete a waiver explaining the process and the school’s/athlete’s rights going into the portal.
It is recommended that you talk with your coach before entering the portal to maintain a relationship with them. When prospective coaches see athletes in the portal, they will likely contact the player’s current coach to gain a better understanding of the athlete.
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2. When should I enter the portal?
This is an interesting question and an important step in the transfer process. A lot of the decision is based on the current coach. Depending on the situation, when athletes say they want to go in the portal, the coach may no longer allow the athlete to participate in team activities.
Our suggestion is to enter the portal after your season has ended. Having a very honest conversation with your coach could also help your case. If you are transferring to get your masters, research potential schools with academic programs you’d be interested in and depending on the deadlines, you can choose when to tell your coach.
3. How does my current academic standing impact my transfer options?
Similar to the initial recruiting process, your academics are very important when wanting to transfer. When looking at potential schools, it's important to consider which of your current credits will transfer over and which credits you may need to retake because each school has their own program requirements. Keeping a good academic standing will hepl you get into the school you’d like to transfer to.
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4. Can you already know where you want to go before going into the transfer portal?
You can have an idea of where you want to go, but that doesn’t guarantee you will be go there. While you could like a school and want to go there, the athletic program will still need to have a spot for you on the team, and that is not guaranteed. In addition to a spot, the program may not have the scholarship money you desire/need. It’s important to do your research when going through the process, but try to keep an open mind!
5. Can I contact coaches before being the portal?
You are not allowed to contact coaches prior to going into the portal, and if you do, you will not hear back from a coach until you are officially in the portal. Coaches can face implications for answering athletes about transferring if they are not in the portal.
6. If I enter the portal, will my NLI still be honored at my current school?
Once you enter the transfer portal, your current school has the right to void or reduce your scholarship and are not obligated to keep you as on the team if you decide to stay. Schools are also able to reduce/eliminate your scholarship for the next academic term once you enter the transfer portal. All of this is at the discretion of the coach and athletic program.
7. Can your current schools/coaches interfere with where you transfer?
The right answer according to the NCAA is no. Many schools don’t like when their athletes transfer within the conference, but the school is not able to withhold you from going there. Recent rules have changed, and undergraduate athletes are now able to transfer once and not have to sit out a year. In addition, major conferences, such as the SEC, have gone away with their requirement for transfer athletes to sit out a year when transferring in-conference.
8. Is transferring as a graduate student the same process as a transferring as a undergraduate student?
The process is almost identical. The athlete will still go through the same steps to get into the portal and talk to coaches. The only difference would be the admissions process. Since you are applying to be a graduate student there may be more requirements to get in the program you desire (GRE or other testing). Another important aspect to note is the deadlines for graduate school can be different than undergraduate deadlines so watch out for that!
* Originally published on December 9, 2021, by Andrea Leitner