The NCAA Transfer Portal gives and the NCAA Transfer Portal takes away.
In between, in the gray areas provided by the recently instituted NIL compensation and one-time transfer waiver, are actions that qualify as accelerated rather than unprecedented: back-channel communications by players, agents, handlers, boosters, and various other players trying to lure talented players to the portal with massive NIL payout offers.
The saga of Biletnikoff Award-winning Pittsburgh wide receiver Jordan Addison made the new reality apparent over the weekend, with accusations of manipulation by the Panther team and reports of angry phone calls from Pittsburgh head coach Pat. Narduzzi to USC head coach Lincoln Riley.
Following the May 1 deadline for players to enter their names into the portal to maintain eligibility for the 2022 season, the window between that deadline and the 48 hours schools have to officially enter a player’s name on the portal has become an unprecedented battleground as coaches attempt to retain key players while the dark webs of booster and NIL collectives come together to match or exceed offers made to those players.
Apologies for burying the lead here, but let that introduction shed some light on what happened at Forty Acres and beyond, as another program made a six-figure offer from at least one school to the second-year wide receiver from Texas. , Xavier Worthy, according to a report by 247Deportes.
On Monday night, as the battle to keep Worthy in Austin began to unfold publicly, Worthy offered a single image to convey his intentions.
Insured bag, supposedly.
Worthy’s decision comes after a spring during which he explained why he decided to stay in Texas despite the portal’s rich appeal.
“(Transfer) wasn’t even a decision,” Worthy said. “I trust Sark, so I’m going to believe Sark. I’m not leaving. I put my trust in Sark.”
After posting 62 receptions for 981 yards and 12 touchdowns in a breakout freshman season, Worthy cited a desire to build on his breakout season and win a Big 12 championship as motivating factors.
After the demise of TCU transfer edge Ochaun Mathis, Worthy wasn’t the only player Texas coaches and money men needed to secure; according to the same report, junior nickel trader Jahdae Barron was also the target of a “significant deal.”
Like Worthy, Barron seems keen to stick with the Longhorns in the final hours before the deadline for the school to officially put his name on the portal.
Allowing college athletes to benefit from their NIL rights is undoubtedly a crucial and fair development. Allowing college athletes a one-time transfer waiver is undoubtedly a crucial and fair development.
Taken together, however, the side effects of the current largely unregulated landscape seem unsustainable, a difficult circumstance considering the NCAA’s ineffective enforcement and track record of massively ineffective governance that is likely to come to an ignominious end in the near future.
However, a task force of university administrators is meeting to establish guidelines for promoters and collectives in an attempt to regain some control:
The new directives will highlight existing NCAA statutes that prohibit reinforcements from participating in the draft, reminding member schools of the railings that, while in place for years, bent and broke during the first 10 months of the era. NIL, officials say. Under a long-established NCAA rule, boosters are a representative arm of an athletic department and aren’t supposed to associate with or coax prospects.
Schools that violate the guidelines will be subject to punishment, actions likely to trigger legal challenges, and another massive win for billable hours.
“We let things get out of hand,” an official told Sports Illustrated. “We have to get [the boosters] to contact recruits and barter with them.”
In moving from what Walter Byers, the NCAA’s first CEO, called a “neoplantation mentality” to a fully capitalist open market, schools, coaches, and money-wielding stakeholders are working to manage, or in some cases exploit — the new system until the new guidelines go into effect soon, before more massive systemic changes lie ahead.
Over the past two days, the Longhorns have effectively avoided worst-case defection scenarios, ensuring some relative calm with the offseason officially looming in the next few hours.