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Utah basketball has indeed had a transfer problem, while Mark Pope has had success

CORRECTS TO FIRST HALF INSTEAD OF SECOND - Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington State in Pullman, Wash., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Washington State in Pullman, Wash., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
AP Photo/Young Kwak

In recent years, a big narrative surrounding the Utah Runnin’ Utes has been that they have had a major problem with players transferring out of the program under former head coach Larry Krystkowiak. But in the transfer portal era, has it really been worse at Utah than at most places?

Recently, Eli Boettger at Athletic Director U, which brands itself as “a learning platform designed to provide news and insights to empower the college athletics community,” took a deep dive into the subject of transfers within men’s college basketball specifically, and his findings indicate that the Utes really have had a transfer problem.

Boettger’s study goes back to 2012, and in that span, he found that Utah has had 42 players transfer out, which is tied for the second most in the entire country with UNLV, just one behind “leader” Mississippi Valley State.

Elsewhere in the study, Boettger found that BYU Cougars head coach Mark Pope has been one of the more successful coaches with transfers dating back to his time at UVU.

According to Boettger’s numbers, Pope is eighth in average win shares per season by transfer additions and 10th in percentage of minutes played by transfer additions.

While Utah has seen a bunch of players transfer out, UVU is tied with four other schools for the sixth-most transfer additions during the study’s time frame with 27.

Some other notes from the study:

  • Men’s basketball has the second-highest transfer rate of any sport in the NCAA at 15.3% as of 2019. Men’s soccer is highest at 18.6%. Baseball is lowest at 2.3%. FBS football, by comparison, has a transfer rate of just 4.6% (FCS football is 7.2%).
  • Men’s basketball transfers have exactly tripled since 2012, from 577 that year to 1,731 this year.
  • The study delves into a number of other topics, such as where players transfer to and from and the impact of transfers on their new programs, among others.