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The MWCConnection Roundtable: Thoughts on the new transfer rule?

The team weighs in.

Mountain West Football Championship - Boise State v San Jose State Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Taking a break from team questions this week and focusing on one that is more of a bigger picture in the college sports landscape. The NCAA voted to allow student-athletes a one-time transfer exemption without having to sit out a year. Today’s question is: what do you think about it?

Zach: Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of transferring. But these kids ultimately have to do what’s best for their future. I’ve kind of become desensitized to the whole transfer thing. It used to be painful when it happened, but now it’s part of the game. Luckily for Boise State, it hasn’t hurt them too bad...yet. It’s kind of a cop out, but I’m indifferent on this rule.

NittanyFalcon: As an Air Force fan I don’t like the idea of transferring at all because it puts the Falcons at a disadvantage. However, it is the athlete’s choice and they should be able to go to any school of their choice whenever they want, I just hope they do it to advance more than just their chances of playing in the NFL. Maybe some academic counseling should be going on too, to make sure their academic and employment goals are being enhanced.

Jeremy: This is one of those deals where it’s not required to arrive at one specific conclusion. I’m glad these players are being given more liberty to find the right path for them. It’s important to note, it’s a “one-time” transfer exemption, not a complete free for all. That said, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried about this. Sure, Mountain West programs will benefit some from this rule. Look at Utah State, they’ve added a ton of these transfers. That said, the bulk of them are P5 transfers who were either backups or didn’t play a ton. On the other hand, I hope MWC programs don’t become a feeder system for P5 programs. It would really suck to see Fresno State (random name) discover an under-recruited star, then develop that player, only to see that player transfer to Texas after his sophomore season. That’s my fear. The MWC will pick off their fair share of P5 talent from this rule, but I worry special talents might leave the conference too. I hope I’m wrong.

Mike: I wrote about this at length in a Peak Perspective column a few weeks ago. My main points are that it will change things. The number of transfers will increase and schools will have to adapt. All the transferring players will likely not find homes. Some schools may benefit more than others. I would really like if the NCAA added strict tampering penalties so schools don’t attempt to treat it like free agency. We are moving from one imperfect system to another. However, if it’s going to be imperfect, I would prefer that is errors on the side of benefiting the athletes, which it finally does.

Graham_Gibson: The NCAA transfer portal has certainly evolved into an absolutely major game-changer, just look at Jalen Hurts, who was a starter at Alabama and eventually led Oklahoma to the college football playoff. The team to benefit most from the transfer portal in the Mountain West this year is Utah State, whose many transfers will make immediate impacts. The problem with this system, as with the last system, is that power five teams are going to be looking at some of the top players from group of five programs and it is more than likely that the power five teams will try to lure players away. That isn’t necessarily a problem created by this particular transfer system because the underlying problem is the distance between the power five and group of five. Overall though the group of five will also benefit from power five players wanting playing time and the new rules do give players more of an opportunity to make it to the NFL.

Alex: I am surprised to be agreeing with the NCAA, but they made the right call here allowing the one-time transfer exemption without having to sit out. Not every kid that transfers is upset about not getting playing time, life happens and they might want to move closer to home, or there might be a coaching change and the coach they committed to is not there anymore. Not to go on a rant, but I am sick and tired of these older talking heads in sports media saying all the kids in the transfer portal are “soft,” or that they “don’t want to handle adversity,” by going into the portal. You never hear them go after any coaches that leave a place after one year to go for a different job, and whenever someone gets a “promotion,” they are praised for doing so.

But, we have to hold the kids to a different standard? Life happens and all the kids in college football, and other sports, are trying to put themselves in the best possible position to make it professionally. Just because there is one problem kid out of hundreds, doesn’t mean everyone in the portal is trouble, has issues or is a bad kid, so I 100% agree with the decision made by the NCAA. Stepping off my soapbox, I think this is a good move that could benefit Mountain West schools. If things don’t go well at a Power 5 school for someone, they could always come to a MW school, get playing time, build their tape for the pros, and get a chance to grow as a player with a little less pressure while getting more playing time. And with the momentum around a lot of programs in the conference, I think caliber of player in the MW will continue to get better.

Adam: Honestly, I really do not like the rule for a couple of reasons. I understand that players must think of their future, and that is obviously true. However, I think that kids should do their due diligence to see if in fact they will see playing time by scouting who the team has on their roster and scouting out who they are also signing.

Secondly, this turns recruiting into a 365-day process now for coaches. Not only do you have to go out and recruit like you would normally do, but now you have to watch over your shoulder to make sure that other teams aren’t trying to woo away your current players. This will make the coaching jobs even tougher than it was before.