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College Football's Talking Heads Should STFU

A Millennial's Take on the CFB Transfer Portal

In January 2019, Jalen Hurts was widely celebrated as he transferred to the University of Oklahoma. However, most of the players who transfer schools are met with a very different reaction from the public.

Troy Aikman in 85, Jeff George in 86, JJ Watt, Nick Foles, and Ryan Mallett in 07, Baker Mayfield in 14, and Kyler Murray in 15—all transferred schools with multiple years of eligibility remaining. Every year hundreds of players seek to do the same thing: Go to a new school where they can receive an education and play football. Many of these student-athletes do so after just one year at their first school (in Bru McCoy's case, MUCH less than a year). Don't tell the old-timers, but THAT'S OKAY!

There are dozens of reasons to transfer: Move closer to home, attend school with a significant other, pursue a more (or less) challenging education, seek a more affordable living situation, find a more inclusive culture, improve professional prospects (athletically or otherwise), etc. The list can go on and on. Obviously, an athlete's playing time may be the reason or one of the reasons he wants to transfer. According to just about any ESPN program on the transfer topic, every one of these transfers is afraid to compete and looking for an easy way out. Statistically, it isn't likely that all of the players in the transfer portal are there due to the same lack of toughness and desire to compete.

Let's save ourselves the time of making the "coaches leave schools all the time, so the student-athletes should have that option too" argument by presenting one name: Manny Diaz. In the same month, he left his Defensive Coordinator position at Miami to be the Head Coach at Temple (better job title and more money) only to sign his recruiting class and go right back to Miami for the head coaching gig (more money, prestige, and better future job prospects)—in the same month! If you're reading this, you probably know that Manny Diaz is an extreme case of a very common occurrence: Coaches leaving players behind with unfulfilled promises.

Here's my beef with anyone who opposes student-athletes pursuing the best possible school/team/coach/situation for themselves: Literally every other adult is not just free to better their situation, but urged to do so. A professional in any field is free to seek bigger, brighter, and better opportunities for themselves. Let's just imagine someone who works in television as a sports analyst; such a person would be encouraged to consider moving markets, networks, and positions in order to advance his or her career as desired. Rece Davis, for example, started as a reporter in Tuscaloosa, AL before going to be a sports reporter and weekend news anchor in Columbus, GA; then he went to Flint, MI as a sports anchor before finally landing at ESPN. Although his employers may have been disappointed by his choices to pursue bigger and better things, no one was blocking him from going to competing markets or telling him he had to stay off the air for a year after moving.

Let's take just one more moment to imagine a student. This student did very well in high school, but for one reason or another, found herself in the Engineering Department at Mediocre Tech. After a year or two of being the most promising student in her program, the circumstances that led her to Mediocre have changed and she decides to see if more favorable opportunities are available. Does anyone really expect her to turn down scholarships from MIT or Stanford simply because two years ago, at 17 or 18 years old, she thought Mediocre Tech was the best place for her? Of course not! Every sensible person in the world would tell that girl to secure the bag—get her degree and make her money.

Much like professionals in all fields and other college students, student-athletes should be afforded the same opportunities to improve their situations, free of criticism and false claims questioning their willingness to compete in what they have deemed an undesirable situation. College football is changing, for the better, and the talking heads had better get used to it or STFU!

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College Football's Talking Heads Should STFU
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