Updated: Aug 5, 2021
In March of 2020, the global pandemic of Covid-19 changed our lives as we know it, and the effect it had on college sports was paramount. The pandemic shut down winter and spring sports, causing the NCAA to experience a $600 million annual decline in its total revenue for the 2020 fiscal year because there was no NCAA tournament. With so much uncertainty going on, high school seniors in the 2020 graduating class are forced to decide on their college futures. The NCAA basketball portal currently has 1,325 players from all levels, while the portal has become the new trend. Let's talk about the four reasons why the portal has blown up.
1. Glitz and Glamor
If you know anything about kids today, you know they love the recruiting process; some kids
love the coaches; constant calls, the texts, the follows, and the social media love. If I have a chance to be courted again and feel wanted, I'm going to do it.
2. Give me my respect
I like to call this the Adam Flagler effect; Flagler had a productive career in high school but was not receiving any major offers. Flagler decided to attend Presbyterian, where he was named Big South Freshman of the Year after leading the team with 15.9 points per game. He left and went to the Big 12 and Baylor, where he was a key cog in helping Baylor win their 1st national championship in school history. How does this affect the portal? It's simple; many kids believe if I was at a smaller school and played more prominent schools, and I put up numbers, I can do the same thing on that level. The most interesting thing is that most high-level coaches are recruiting lower-level D1 kids that are proven.
3. Is this where I wanna be
With so much uncertainty during the last year's recruitment with Covid and scholarships, I felt like coaches and players alike were in a challenging situation. The coaches weren't able to get out and see a lot of kids play, so they relied on film and recruiting services. While these are viable options, sometimes you can be tricked. The evaluators might suggest a player who only wowed them with their athleticism, dribbling, or shooting. The highlight films are just that a highlight film; it shows your highlight. These are only a sample size for the player and can leave coaches not knowing the type of player they are. The players were so worried about getting a scholarship that they didn't do research on the coach, style of play, and the team. Most kids only saw the campus, virtually and we know how that goes; nobody will show you a lemon. So once they got there, they realize, and sometimes the coach realized we just weren't the right fit for each other.
4. This season was free
When the NCAA decided to make this a free year, this changed the game for guys who knew
they weren't ready, but they couldn't stay where they were. The saying "you ain't got to go home, but you got to get the heck out of here". So why not use this free year to go somewhere and improve your stock. Many players will use this opportunity to improve their stock and either propel themselves to the NBA or continue to refine their game. With the one-time transfer rules, guys will be taking advantage of the opportunity.
Many people will question the boom of the portal and wonder if it's really good for college basketball. Yes, many guys will get opportunities they may not have had to go to what is truly their right fit. For some, this will be a humbling experience that makes you think the grass was
indeed greener on the other side. All in all, it's good for the business of college basketball
because you will see several smaller programs getting players that they wouldn't have had a
chance to get. For many kids, this is their 1st time seeing the business of college basketball.
Until next time...