The age of the transfer portal has dominated college sports. In basketball, it's a free for all, particularly with the one time NCAA transfer rule that allows athletes to play right away. Will Wade has picked up three transfers in a 19-day stretch and Ed Orgeron has added Clemson linebacker Mike Jones Jr.
Over the years, the transfer portal has been kind to LSU as you need to look no further than quarterback Joe Burrow. But the Tigers have also lost a lot in recent years as well. Siaki Ika is off to Baylor and already is impressing Dave Aranda and the coaching staff. Linebacker Marcel Brooks transferred to TCU and tight end Arik Gilbert is currently one of the close to 1,600 players in limbo looking for their next opportunity to return to the field.
Over the weekend, quarterback TJ Finley entered the portal and there's one huge caveat with a player like Finley, who's been with the program for over a year. Because Finley's scholarship accounts for the inital 85 scholarships heading into the 2021 season, LSU can't replace him with the 25 scholarships for the 2021 class.
"1600 players in the transfer portal is way too much," Orgeron said on Off the Bench Tuesday. "I don't know if it's healthy getting that many players transferred but that's the world we're living in. The problem is that when a player leaves, you can't replace them with an initial. Right now we only have one initial so we lose a player at a position like quarterback, what do you do?
"Where do you use that scholarship strategically? We do know we have needs but I need to find out what's going on with our football team to use that scholarship in the right way."
The hope for Orgeron is that because of the abundance of players now entering the portal every year, that the NCAA will adapt to the new situation. Whenever a player elects to enter the portal, Orgeron thinks it's only fair that a program gains a scholarship to add a player to take his place.
"Hopefully. We need some relief to where we can replace [our players]. I hope it goes one for one," Orgeron said. "If you lose a guy, you get another initial but that's just my opinion."
The NCAA is expected to vote on a one time intraconference transfer, which would allow players like Finley, to transfer to another SEC school and play right away. It's not yet known if that will become a permanent move but if players keep entering the portal at this rate after the 2021 season, some changes will definitely be needed.