The NCAA Transfer Portal may soon get much more crowded.
In a press release Monday afternoon, the NCAA Transfer Waiver Working Group said it is considering a move that would allow for athletes to transfer to a school of their choosing and compete right away. Instead of being sidelined for one year, athletes would get a one-time free pass to transfer without repercussions if they meet the following criteria:
- Receive a transfer release from their previous school.
- Leave their previous school academically eligible.
- Maintain their academic progress at the new school.
- Leave under no disciplinary suspension.
It could go into effect as early as this fall. For Mark Stoops, it would mean that quarterback Joey Gatewood could be eligible to play in the 2020 football season. Vince Marrow, the man who helped recruit Gatewood to Kentucky from Auburn, shared mixed emotions about the potential new rule on Wednesday morning’s Kentucky Roll Call.
“I still have to look at that because I think it’s going to get kind of crazy,” he said. “I’m all about player rights. I want you to understand that. I’m always going to be for the player. You know you see coaches move around, you see — that’s why I’m not leaving now. I couldn’t go into all them living rooms of all the kids I recruited… look at their families, look at their moms and dads — they ask, ‘You gonna be there?’ Yes, because in my heart I really believe I’m gonna be there. It’s the same thing with this free agency thing.
“Now you’re going to start free agency and there’s going to be guys playing week three and a guy really ain’t playing. He may be like second team that week and some other coach from another team comes up to him on the field and says, ‘Hey man, you need to look at us.’ I just think you’re really going to be taking away from the tradition of college football. It’s like pro ball. You look at basketball right now, you don’t know who — if you say your favorite player, Larry Bird and Magic was my favorite players. I can have a Boston jersey for five, six, seven years. Now you can buy a jersey and the guy’s gone next year. I think there’s still some; I’m all about the players, but I do think they need to look at that a little bit more closely. But if it’s going to benefit the players, I’m all for it.”
Critics of the one-free-transfer rule typically refer to it as a new college football free agency.
Marrow’s concerns come from a man who is essentially an intermediary between players and coaches. If players have a problem, they typically go to Vince first. He will either handle the problem himself or become a voice of the player to the rest of the coaches. In Lynn Bowden’s case, Marrow helped convinced Bowden not to transfer at one point early in his career. Marrow also convinced Stoops and Eddie Gran to let Bowden play quarterback in 2019.
If this rule comes into effect, Marrow would likely hear more and more concerns from impatient players who are considering transferring. Some fans may be worried that the Alabamas of the world would try to pick apart Kentucky’s roster. Marrow is not at all.
“We have to stop doing this. If it was 2013, I understand that. You had a Bud Dupree maybe Alabama and Georgia can pull. Dude, we are right where we need to be.
“I don’t look at if somebody’s gonna come and pluck our players. Our players love it here. It should tell you that when we had the eight guys that was going to get drafted, going to the combine and they all decided to play in the (bowl) game. We were the only school that did that. The next year, same thing with Stenberg and Lynn. We have a culture here that our players love us. I don’t really see our players doing that. If anything we’re going to be plucking other schools’ players because they’re going to see us and say, ‘Man. This culture’s pretty good here.'”