Big 12 News

NCAA President Opposed to Additional Transfer Portal Limitations

Inside NCAA Headquarters located in Indianapolis on Friday, March 10, 2023.

ESPN senior writer Dan Murphy met with NCAA President Charlie Baker in Indianapolis on Tuesday to discuss several issues in college athletics, one of which was the transfer portal.

Baker, who took over leadership on March 1, 2023, hasn’t been around long but is all too familiar with the discussion and showed little sympathy for coaches who have been outspoken on the idea that there needs to be more guardrails in place.

The difficulty of maintaining rosters in the new world of college athletics has caused several rifts for coaching staffs and programs, as limited restrictions on transfers have allowed name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals from other schools to serve as incentive to change teams. In reality, it’s become an unrestricted free market, and unlike the NFL model, there aren’t binding contracts in place.

 

“I’ve had conversations with a bunch of coaches who didn’t … walk out on their contracts,” Baker told ESPN. “One of the things I hear from kids when I talk to them about this issue is, ‘Coaches walk out on their contracts. What about us?'”

Baker’s lackadaisical approach to finding more restrictions for the transfer portal comes from his line of thinking that the growing rate of all transfer students, not just student-athletes, is reflective of the overall trend, not a direct result of lucrative NIL deals or tampering.

“Do they transfer more than they did ten years ago? Yes. Do they transfer more than their peers who aren’t student-athletes? No,” Baker said. “… They actually transfer less than students who aren’t student-athletes do, and kids just transfer more because they have more information, more data, and they’re more impatient about a lot of things.”

 

One widely accepted idea among other leaders in the sports world is that Congress needs to step in and help schools regain some of the control in this situation, in hopes of safeguarding a future where amateurism in college sports is still a reality. Several of the proposals generated by Congress have provisions included that would make it more difficult for students to use the transfer portal. While Baker is looking for a way to alleviate the NCAA’s legal issues, he’s not in support of restriction athlete’s ability to transfer.

“I’m not much on that. I’m not,” Baker said when asked about having laws in place to restrict the transfer portal.

Baker and the NCAA are up to their necks in legal battles as we enter an election year, and there’s a chance that Congress doesn’t get an NCAA law into effect before November. While Baker tells ESPN that there “really isn’t a path forward” for the entity to resolve its legal issues without the help of federal lawmakers, he says they’ll keep trying.

“If we don’t get it done this year, [we’ll] certainly have more examples about why it would be important to take on preemption and compensation and employment and some of these other issues in the next Congress.”

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