Alabama Basketball: Transfer Portal not what NCAA intended

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Alabama Basketball and many other programs benefit from players transferring from other schools. Crimson Tide fans are pleased Nimari Burnett is moving from Texas Tech to the Alabama Crimson Tide. There is hope the Crimson Tide gets another transfer boost on Sunday with Furman’s Noah Gurley.

The need for a streamlined Transfer Portal process was increased by the extraordinary impact of COVID. Giving players extra eligibility and a one-time, immediate transfer option is reasonable. The underlying problem with transfers predated the pandemic. It was the NCAA’s administrative boondoggle in reviewing, then granting, or denying immediate transfer requests. In many cases the reasons for waiver decisions by the NCAA were undecipherable. The NCAA took so much heat on immediate eligibility decisions, blanket waivers were considered a better option.

Wrapped around those circumstances is the widespread belief free agency is best for players. For many it is, but increasingly it is not. Examples of unintended consequences suggest unfettered free agency will not only hurt some players but many smaller college basketball programs as well.

A recent report was published by Washington University of St. Louis. According to the author, many smaller programs are being negatively impacted by the transfer explosion.

"(The Portal leaves) many mid-major schools with empty roster spots and lost talent. University of Tulsa Golden Hurricanes will be without half of the current roster for the next season. (such) programs are already beginning to feel the serious consequences of the NCAA’s relaxed regulations."

Alabama Basketball and other Top Programs Benefit

Clearly, one result will be the rich will get richer in college basketball. Alabama Basketball and dozens of other schools will benefit. But there are 357, Division One college basketball programs. Many of the smaller programs stand to lose their best players to transfers. Mid-Majors are also adversely impacted with some schools having more than half of their 2020-21 rosters seeking transfers. Such turmoil among programs is argued to be justifiable on the basis of fairness to players. That primary argument does not apply to all players.

Over 1,200 players have pursued transfers this year. Many of them will not find new teams and could lose their previous scholarships. At the least, the NCAA needs to consider the consequences for all players caused by the explosion of transfers.

From college basketball coaches and administrators at smaller schools to ESPN commentator, Dick Vitale, there is concern the Portal is hurting the game. Vitale got an avalanche of backlash when he said,

"Transfer portal totally OUT OF CONTROL /@CuseWBBhas 10 players enter portal/today Jack Nunge Iowa to Xavier // T. Camara from UGA to Dayton //Malik Curry from ODU to WVA It is non/ Stop daily / this is NOW totally ABSURD!"

In a later tweet, Vitale did not back down, stating the Transfer Portal has created “chaos” in college basketball.

Next. Current and future love for Alabama Basketball. dark

Alabama Basketball has and will benefit from loosened transfer rules. But as Nick Saban has warned, free agency also has negative consequences.