With recent changes to transfer rules this offseason, the second day of Big 12 Media Days has been all abuzz on the topic. Multiple Big 12 coaches went into depth on the topic, including Dana Holgorsen, Matt Rhule, and Bill Snyder.
Transfers are one way that Dana Holgorsen looks to provide depth for his team, he said. Getting talented first team players was not a challenge, he said, but his staff felt like they needed to fill in spots behind some of their top talent in order to compete in the Big 12.
“You gotta play nine games in a row. You’re going to have guys go down, you’re going to play a lot of people and if you’re weak at any spot then these great teams in the Big 12, especially offensively, they’re going to capitalize on that.”
At the same time, the head coach also noted that there are potential problems with transfers, especially when it comes to evaluating whether or not to take a chance on a potential new addition.
“The thing with transfers is you gotta figure out why they’re transferring. You go some new proposal out there and I don’t know how I feel about it yet. Guys at some point are always going to want to transfer, but why are you transferring? I don’t want to hear because they’re not giving me a chance. I don’t want to hear that. That’s garbage. Every coach out there gives every player a chance. They recruit ’em. They’re going to give them a chance.”
Holgorsen went on to say that coaching changes can be a good reason for that. Sometimes players just need to get a new start and find a program that is a better fit for them, the West Virginia head coach said.
Dana Holgorsen wasn’t the only coach to have something positive to say about the proliferation of player transfers, though. Matt Rhule also thought that the focus should be on players’ ability to maximize their opportunities by being able to choose which program they play for.
“I spend a lot of time with our players, so if a player comes into our environment and it’s not right for him, then he should go. He should have an opportunity to go somewhere else. I think it’s great. I think it gives kids an opportunity to make a decision.”
There is of course the potential for an atmosphere of increased transfers to have a negative impact. It’s important then to promote commitment while encouraging players to exercise control over their future, Rhule noted.
“So we have to make sure we teach responsibility. We want to fight entitlement everywhere, but I do believe that if a young man does not want to be in our program he should have the right to go wherever he is going to be successful. I was at Temple and I made the decision to come to Baylor. So I had that right…I think our young people should have the ability to go where they think they can be most successful.”
Kansas State’s Bill Snyder was less enthusiastic about the new rule changes. When asked about his thoughts, he noted that players often want to transfer because society puts too high a value on everyone getting what they want immediately.
“If you’re in that age group that is competing or going to college and competing at that level, you’re identified across our nation as an individual that fits in an age group of instant self-gratification, which means at least in my terminology, I want it. I want it now. If I can’t have it now, forget it. To me, not a good way to live a life.”
Snyder went on to talk about how that kind of attitude can translate onto the football field, where players can be frustrated when they don’t instantly get rewarded for their efforts.
“I think we take away maybe or we are teaching lessons that are contrary to what most of us have been raised with and that is if you want something then you work extremely hard. You have a good plan about how to achieve it and you work extremely hard at doing it and you don’t give up, you don’t give in, you don’t walk away from it.”
As he acknowledged, Snyder’s opinion is not necessarily a popular one. But from what other coaches in the Big 12 had to say, he’s not alone in what seeing the downside to the proliferation of transfers in college football. From what coaches had to say on Tuesday, opinions on the matter seem to run the gamut.