Pac-12 players are transferring; Are any Utes to follow suit?
When the Pac-12 conference elected to cancel/postpone the college football season on August 11, it hit the coaches, athletes and fans like a ton of bricks.
Once everyone had a chance to recover from the shock, the reality set in that there would be no Pac-12 players participating in football this fall. And the deeper reality of what would the players do if they wanted to play...
But with every day that passes, it appears the answer becomes clearer.
Pac-12 players made it clear that they didn't support the conference's decision to postpone the college football season, and now some have expressed their desire to leave the Pac-12 for a chance to play this fall — in either the SEC, ACC and Big 12.
Arizona's Brenden and Colin Schooler have both expressed their desire to transfer this fall in search of playing immediately.
And now, UCLA starting tackle Jake Burton announced via Twitter that he too is searching for a new home in hopes of playing immediately.
There are multiple issues that come with transferring, especially if one isn't a grad transfer and can't play immediately — which could be an issue for many players looking to play this fall.
According to Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin, the NCAA isn't allowing the players to transfer based on their respective seasons being canceled.
"The issue is they're not giving guys immediate eligibility," Kiffin said. "At first we thought, if they got shut down, the NCAA would say 'If your conference and school isn't going to let you play you can transfer and be eligible somewhere else.' They've come out and said that's not the case. You're not going to win a waiver.
"I think you would have seen a lot if that would have happened. You would have seen free agency."
For many juniors, seniors and draft-eligible sophomores, robbing them of a fall college football season is criminal considering how it could seriously effect their future — and it's even worse to rob them of their opportunity to play at all this fall.
Take for instance Joe Burrow, the former LSU quarterback. Entering last season, Burrow was at best a Day 3 draft pick — although it was more likely he would be undrafted. But all he did was go out during the fall season and have the best college football season ever by a player, win the Heisman trophy and national championship AND become the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.
If the COVID-19 pandemic would've happened last fall and Burrow was robbed of a season, NONE of what was previously stated would've happened.
Another major issue for players transferring this late is learning the new playbook, especially if the player expects/wants to contribute immediately.
The SEC/ACC are set to begin their 10-game schedules at the end of September while the Big 12 gets underway on September 12. That means that players looking to transfer have 2.5 weeks until the Big 12 starts and 4.5 weeks until the SEC/ACC kicks off — very little time to not only learn a new playbook but get acclimated to new teammates, styles and a way of life.
The good news for Utah fans is that head coach Kyle Whittingham, who spoke with local media on Tuesday, announced that nobody on the roster has expressed a desire to transfer from the program.
It's big news for the Utes because there are multiple programs from the three remaining Power 5 conferences playing who are in need of players... and have not been shy about saying so.
“We’re a little short” at cornerback, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said during a video media conference Tuesday. “We are currently researching if there is a cornerback or maybe a nickel cornerback out there who is available. We may take him and we could use him right now.”
While other programs are getting bit by the transfer bug, it appears that Utah is going to escape that altogether and turn its attention to football in the spring.
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