College football may never be the same. In fact, it may turn into exactly what the NFL is except for the fact that players aren't getting paid (for now) and coaches aren't compensated nearly as much as those at the next level.
The best thing about college football is that any team can win on any given Saturday which is mostly due to the competitive balance that exists throughout the country. Over the years, we've seen that competitive balance take a bit of a hit as the transfer portal has become an enemy more often than not for teams that are not typically in the national picture.
Previously, the NCAA forced those who transferred to a new school to sit out one year before playing at their new institution. Recently, that rule was changed to give the student-athletes immediate eligibility upon transfer. This gives the college game more of an NFL free agency type of feel and makes it more difficult for schools like West Virginia to compete year in and year out with the Oklahoma's and Texas's of the Big 12.
In a recent interview on Sirius XM Sports Radio, West Virginia head coach Neal Brown talked about the ongoing issues of tampering in college football.
"It's going to be impossible to police this tampering. And so, there's just not going to be a way. We've had guys that have left here that have been tampered with, and I know it but I can't prove it. And I think that's going to happen more and more around college football. Here's what I think we're getting to - for better or worse - is we're looking now where your team is year-to-year. And so, very much a pro mindset where you're never really gonna know exactly who's on your roster until you get into fall camp. Your signals and all that kind of stuff are going to have to - you're going to have to redo year-to-year, just like the pros do. And because in the NFL, free agency, waivers, all that kind of stuff - the roster is continually turned over and you're gonna play multiple people that were on your roster the year before. So it just becomes a year-to-year mindset. And I think that's what's going to happen in Power Five college football as well."
Tampering is something that I feel has always taken place in collegiate athletics but it's only going to worsen now that the portal has become a national phenomenon. What I find interesting is that Neal Brown openly stated that he's had players who have been tampered with. It makes you wonder, was it players who transferred out this offseason or in the two previous years? Tykee Smith followed former WVU co-defensive coordinator to Georgia but Smith's decision to transfer didn't seem to surprise Brown - it was one he expected to happen. The one that surprised he and his staff the most was cornerback Dreshun Miller who transferred to Auburn. Could this be one of those situations? Maybe, but we'll never know.
National Signing Day used to be a day that fans could get excited about as they were welcoming in "the future" of the program. Now, it's about how many of those signees will be with the program in 2-3 years? Will they transfer out after little to no playing time? Do they become a quality starter and transfer to a blueblood? These are all things that Neal Brown and head coaches across the country are going to have to worry about. Once a recruit signed with you, it was a sigh of relief because you knew he was going to come and contribute to your team in the future. It's not like that anymore. These coaches are going to have to continue to recruit these kids even once they reach campus to sell them on the fact that this is where they need to be.
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like there will be a solution to this problem anytime soon.
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