A few days ago, University Wyoming Cowboys head basketball coach Jeff Linder released a statement addressing changes that have come to college basketball.
In the statement, Linder said, “New challenges (transfer portal and NIL) have presented themselves in the last 12 months that has changed the landscape of college basketball.”
These two issues – name, image, likeness deals and the transfer portal – will undoubtedly have an impact on this great game, and all college sports in general.
This is especially true for the transfer portal.
The NIL issue is one that has been brewing for a while. And the fact that players will get a cut of the profits has been coming.
Let’s face it, there is really no such thing as “amateur” college sports anymore. College sports generates billions of dollars in revenue each year. Now players are getting a chunk of it.
And really, I’m OK with that. It’s the way of the college sports world. Really, it’s the way of the sports world. Period.
There is just so much money involved, and everyone is getting their share.
So, I get the NIL issue, and I’m OK with it.
I’m not so sure, however, about the transfer portal.
This seems like the next step toward a true professional league. NCAA basketball will look a lot like the NBA if its players are moving wherever they want, whenever they want and, essentially, making their own deals.
Many will say that it is happening already. And really, what do “commitments” mean these days? Are there still scholarships?
Of course there are, but what do they really mean?
There was a time when an athletic scholarship was actually a contract. It was a contract between two parties, and if one of those parties acted with disregard to said contract there would be consequences.
But these days, the sports world and, I think more and more the real world, is taking more of a contracts-are-made-to-be-broken approach. Contracts aren’t worth the paper they are written on.
The transfer portal will make it even easier to say, “I wish to go against my word, break my promise, quit you and leave. Not only that, but I’m going somewhere else to play.”
What kind of effect will the transfer portal have on the game itself?
That remains to be seen.
But it’s certain to many that the portal will indeed impact the makeup of teams. How can it not?
There will be many players using the new transfer portal. That means, quite simply, that many teams will see new faces on their rosters.
There’s always a look of change in college sports, what with graduations and new recruits. But add the transfer portal, which is open to all classes, and you’ve got even more movement and change.
It’s the degree of change that is truly unknown. Just how much change is the issue.
We know that it is important to embrace change, adapt to it and move forward.
That’s what successful programs do. That’s what successful coaches preach to their players.
It’s probably the fans who have the most difficulty with change. We seem to be most resistant to it.
I don’t like it when one of my team’s players leaves. I like having a consistent roster, one that I can embrace and support year after year.
I enjoy rooting for teams with players who seem to want to be there. I’ve always been a fan of Cowboys who “want” to be Cowboys and Cowgirls who “want” to be Cowgirls.
I guess what I’m saying is that I want everyone to have the right to work, or in this case play, wherever they want. I feel that’s just a basic human right.
But I also want my favorites, the players on my team, to play where I want them to play.
And I don’t want them to leave.
Hey, I’m just being a fan, which is short for “fanatic” you know.