Pitchin with Pritch: College sports changed with the ‘transfer portal’

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There have been lots of changes in college athletic programs over the years, but one that has really taken off in the past few years is the transfer portal.

Many players are now using it for what I expect is a number of reasons, but I would also suspect that “playing time” is one of the biggest reasons. 

Nebraska is certainly not immune to having that happen with some of their players leaving and, in some cases, a bunch of players coming in to the program.

The football program lost a player that I thought was pretty valuable to the team but he was a quarterback. Right now, Adrian Martinez seems to be the number one QB until he gets hurt or one of the other QB’s improves a bunch. 

Noah Vedral, who came with Coach Frost from UCF, will have two years of eligibility left at his new school, which he hasn’t announced yet. 

Quarterbacks are a different breed and Vedral, who is a Nebraska kid from Wahoo, started two games last year when Martinez was injured. He showed signs of being a pretty decent player but I would say, unlike other positions, quarterbacks don’t like to be backup players. Hence, the transfer portal is way to try somewhere else. 

In the Devaney and Osborne years, there were not a lot of transfers and linemen for the most part didn’t play until they were juniors or seniors. Running backs stuck it out and the Huskers were deep at most positions. The times they are a changing.

Men’s basketball at Nebraska is a different story. With Coach Hoiberg, change is not something to be afraid of player-wise. 

He came and brought a team with him. Some of them had to sit out a year for transferring, others came eligible right away and next year almost every player on the team will be different. 

I think basketball players are not as patient as other athletes. If they don’t get on the court as much as they think they should, they are gone. Coach Hoiberg has thrived on making a program out of transfers and it would appear that hasn’t changed much since he was coach at Iowa State.

NCAA sports has changed also. At one time,  you didn’t have many players transferring from one university to another, but in 2019-20, there were over 1,000 athletes that transferred in Division I. 

I saw a chart somewhere that in the 2019, 26 basketball teams in Division I had five or more transfers on the roster and one team had 10 transfers on the roster. 

I know a lot of people see those numbers and say that today’s players are not very loyal. That might be true but a lot of players think that they are just one step away from being a professional and I think that is especially true with basketball players. 

There are the Lebron James’ and Kobe Bryants that go to the professional teams right out of high school but the percentage of players that make it in the pros is pretty low. A lot of college players would probably be better off playing four years of college ball. That is just an opinion. 

It is also kind of true at the high school level where sometimes players and parents think that Division I is a sure thing for their son or daughter. The percentage there is pretty low also, but it doesn’t hurt work towards that goal.

I am sure that putting in the time and having a positive attitude about work hard is a really good trait to have and sometimes I get surprised when visiting with kids. 

Just this past week or so, (I lose days and time in this coronavirus world we are living in) we were Facetiming with our three-year-old granddaughter. When we connected, we ask “who are we talking to” and she answered, “This is Kenley Grace Pritchett, volleyball player.” You have to set your sights on a goal early in life.


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