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The NCAA transfer portal is exploding right now. Here’s why

The deadline for fall and winter athletes to enter their names into the transfer portal and be immediately eligible for next season is May 1

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BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope yells as the Brigham Young Cougars play the San Francisco Dons.

In this file photo, BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope yells as the Cougars play the San Francisco Dons in the West Coast Conference tournament. The NCAA transfer will likely get an influx of talent this week. Can BYU capitalize?

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The NCAA transfer portal has changed the way collegiate athletics programs are made and maintained.

High school recruiting still matters, but any team that needs an addition of talent — be it for a quick fix or developmental prospects — can head to the transfer portal and find no shortage of athletes in search of a new home.

At the end of this week, the number of available athletes in the transfer portal will almost assuredly have gone up significantly, too.

Why is this week important when it comes to the NCAA transfer portal?

  • This week is the final week that athletes who participate in fall or winter sports — football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, etc. — can take advantage of the one-time transfer exception and be immediately eligible next season.
  • Per the NCAA, in order to transfer without a waiver — waivers are awarded on a case-by-case basis — athletes “must provide their current school with a written request to enter the NCAA transfer (portal) by May 1.”

  • Any athlete who requests to transfer after May 1 — unless they compete in a spring sport — will have to work with the NCAA in order to become eligible to compete in the 2022-23 season.

What are the requirements for transfers to be immediately eligible?

  • The one-time transfer exception is still a relatively new part of college basketball and football.
  • Athletes can now transfer one time in their careers and be immediately eligible. Any subsequent moves will need NCAA approval — a waiver — in order for athletes to have immediate eligibility. Otherwise they must sit out a season.
  • In order to take advantage of the one-time transfer exception, athletes must meet all the criteria laid out by the NCAA.
  • Athletes must be transferring from a four-year collegiate institution to a NCAA Division I school.

  • They must leave their current school academically eligible.
  • They cannot have not transferred previously from a four-year institution.
  • Also, they must “certify in writing, along with their new head coach, they did not have direct or indirect communications with the new school’s athletics staff prior to entering the NCAA transfer portal.”

How has the NCAA transfer portal treated BYU, Utah and Utah State basketball?

BYU guard Alex Barcello passes to forward Atiki Ally Atiki during game against Northern Iowa in Provo on March 19, 2022.

BYU Cougars guard Alex Barcello (13) passes the ball to teammate Atiki Ally Atiki (4) as the Cougars play the Northern Iowa Panthers in an NIT game at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, March 19, 2022. BYU won 90-71.

Mengshin Lin, Deseret News

  • Much of BYU’s success during the Mark Pope era can be traced to transfers such as Jake Toolson, Alex Barcello and many others.
  • Utah State utilized the portal to bring in multiple players such as Brandon Horvath and Rylan Jones in Ryan Odom’s first season in Logan.
  • Without transfers, Utah would have struggled to field any sort of team during Craig Smith’s first season in Salt Lake City (to be fair, without the transfer portal, Utah likely wouldn’t have lost as many players as it did after the firing of Larry Krystkowiak).
  • This offseason, the Cougars have been hit hard by the departures, losing Nate Hansen, Hunter Erickson, Caleb Lohner, Gavin Baxter and others to the transfer portal.
  • Utah lost three outgoing transfers — Riley Battin, David Jenkins and Dusan Mahorcic — but added Cincinnati’s Mike Saunders.
  • Utah State has had the most success in the portal this offseason, adding Taylor Funk and Isaac Johnson, while losing only Norbert Thelissen.

How has the NCAA transfer portal treated BYU, Utah and Utah State football?

Alabama wide receiver Xavier Williams celebrates after a catch during the national championship game.

Alabama wide receiver Xavier Williams celebrates after a catch during the second half of an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game. Williams has since transferred to Utah State.

Chris O’Meara, AP

  • BYU, Utah and Utah State all won 10 or more games last season, and transfers such as Utah quarterback Cam Rising, Utah State quarterback Logan Bonner and BYU wide receiver Puka Nacua played key roles.
  • BYU successfully mined the transfer portal to add Kingsley Suamataia, Gabe Jeudy-Lally, Houston Heimuli and Christopher Brooks this offseason (the Cougars also lost 10 players over the same span).
  • Utah added Gabe Reid, Logan Kendall, Landon Morris, Mohamoud Diabate and Clayton Isbell, while losing seven players to the portal.
  • As for Utah State, the Aggies added MJ Tafisi, Gurvan Hall, Xavier Williams, Anthony Switzer, Cade Parrish, Levi Williams and Brian Cobbs while losing nine players over the same span.