In the college football world, conference championships, bowl games and national signing day have traditionally been programs’ primary focus in December.
However, in recent years, the transfer portal has created a new set of circumstances college football coaches have to closely monitor.
The idea of managing the transfer portal during an already busy month appears to have frustrated Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin.
Ole Miss has nonetheless benefited from the transfer portal, landing a couple of the most highly sought players in the portal.
Ole Miss will travel to Atlanta this week to play in the Peach Bowl against Penn State. Kiffin pointed to the transfer portal when he discussed attempts to balance the hectic calendar while having to prepare for a bowl game.
“We’re actually kind of, finally, to a normal part now, where today’s Tuesday, and we actually play on a Saturday,” Kiffin said. “So, it’s a normal week for us. We’re just in a hotel in a different city. Previous to this, it’s been a little chaotic with not just recruiting and flying around, trying to get back for practice, a lot of assistant coaches not at the practices. But then dealing with the portal, going to other universities to see kids and dealing with keeping our own kids.”
Kiffin went on to question the way the current system is set up and compared it to the NFL’s free agency model.
“Again, it’s a terrible system. No other — I wouldn’t think any other sports, professional sports, have ever set up a system where free agency starts while the season is still going. So, it really makes no sense. You can leave, you can stay, you can go other places. Coaches can call you, and your season is still going. It would be like before the NFC or AFC playoffs start in a couple weeks, all of a sudden, hey, free agency the week before opens. So you can start recruiting other people’s players and fly them on trips and get them to transfer. So, really, it’s a really bad system.”
Since the portal opens during the bowl season, players looking to go to a different school have to go through the transfer process while also figuring out whether they will remain with their current teams through the end of the year.
Policies for transferring players remaining with teams they will be leaving vary by school.
The transfer portal window closes Jan. 2, unless a team plays in a bowl game scheduled for after that date.
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