Well … I got through another college football Saturday with a smile on my mug as I got to watch my Oregon Ducks deliver a beat down to the Colorado Buffaloes on national TV.
But … I am troubled by the trend that has developed in college football. It’s the “transfer portal” that, to my mind, has resulted in a form of intercollegiate free agency among these student-athletes.
Football players frequently “transfer” their eligibility from one school to another. It allows them some additional college football playing time, which presumably could enhance their financial windfall come draft day in the National Football League.
The old-school fuddy duddy in me isn’t entirely sold on the transfer portal. Watching the Ducks-Buffs game Saturday filled my ears with lots of commentary on all the transfers playing for both Oregon and Colorado. Indeed, the Ducks’ quarterback, Bo Nix, is a kid who transferred from Auburn to play for Oregon. Head U of O coach Dan Lanning calls Nix ‘an elite quarterback” who, after the Saturday blowout of Colorado, has become a Heisman Trophy candidate.
But my point is that the transfer portal vehicle creates a sort of traveling road show quality to all these athletes moving from one university to another to burnish their marketability with the pro franchises. It’s not unlike what has happened over the course of 50 years to Major League Baseball, where athletes shop themselves around the league when their contract expires with the team for which they have played.
It’s difficult these days to attach any loyalty to players who come to a major league franchise, and then leave after three or four seasons. Which is why I always enjoy seeing players inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame who played their entire career with a single team.
Now it’s intercollegiate tackle football that’s been bitten by this transfer portal bug.
Finally, I will stipulate that my devotion to my home state Ducks won’t diminish over the transfer notion. I hope Bo Nix wins the Heisman … but I would enjoy it even more had he played the whole time for Oregon.