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Bowlsby Probably Isn’t the Biggest Fan of the Transfer Portal

The issue of the transfer portal came up at Big 12 Media Days, and Bowlsby has some suggestions.

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The transfer portal: you’re either a fan, or you’re not. I’m guessing Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby is not.

I think we’re sending a bad message to kids that they can have a bad practice or a bad week of practice and just decide one day they’re going to walk out and put their name in the portal without talking to their coaches.

I don’t think that was ever envisioned and it shouldn’t work that way. It’s not that way in your private life or your business life and I just think we’re sending a bad message.

– Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby

I’m not sure kids are running to the transfer portal after a bad practice, but I think we get the larger point Bowlsby is making. And, right or wrong, a lot of people around the sport view it as giving the players too much power.

The argument being that players can decide to transfer on a whim, leaving teams in a lurch.

Although, as Bowlsby pointed out, reality might not warrant the worry as there doesn’t appear to be a rise in transfers; at least not yet.

We recently got a report from Shane Lyons saying that the number of transfers on an institution-by-institution basis are really about the same as they have been over the last few years. Interestingly enough there are kids going to the portal and leaving with a scholarship and finding difficulty in getting another scholarship at another institution.

– Bob Bowlsby

Despite Bowlsby’s concerns, he did acknowledge that there has been benefit to the new system.

There are many walk-ons in the portal that are going from a non-scholarship environment trying to find a scholarship and you certainly can’t blame them for that.

– Bob Bowslby

Is it a perfect system? Obviously not, and there will be adjustments made over time. One such adjustment Bowlsby would like to see is for all transfers to sit a year at their new home.

If I were the benevolent dictator and had an opportunity to wave my hand and make this environment the way it should be, the data could not be any clearer: After a transfer, sitting a year is good academically. There isn’t any question.

…and if you want that year back, either as a graduate transfer or as a fifth year player you can stay on scholarship and participate. I think that’s the model that works. By the way I would do it in all sports.

I think we have made a mistake saying we’re going to do this in some sports and not in others. I would advocate for it to be in all sports.

– Bob Bowlsby

Truth be told, I’m not entirely against transfers sitting out a year. Especially, if they are able to get that year of eligibility back. As the Commish points out, that’s the way it is in other sports, why would it be different for football players?

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