Will Colleges Pay Athletes To Not Transfer? (And Why I Believe It Already Might Be Happening)
Money Talks - With the free agency of college sports becoming a reality, universities may need to consider other ways to keep players.
With many college basketball seasons coming to end - the transfer portal is starting to fill up.
Only a few days after losing in the quarterfinals of the America East tournament, all 5 starters at The University of New Hampshire said they’ll be playing somewhere else next year.
Usually it’s the athletes that don’t get much playing time that transfer, but the landscape has shifted in recent years.
I need you to take a look at this graph:
In 2022, I expect the total men’s basketball transfers to exceed 2,000 — and over 1,000 of them to be D1-D1.
This drastically decreases the chances for anyone looking to make it to the highest level of college basketball that isn’t there yet.
There are between 25-30% fewer spots available for high school athletes than in years past.
Why is this?
“Me First Attitude” by Families
Instant Gratification for Players
Extra Year of Eligibility
I went more in-depth on this a few weeks ago: The Transfer Portal is Wrecking College Sports (Why Yearlong Free Agency Isn't Sustainable)
But today I want to touch on how schools can find ways to keep players.
Let’s dive in 👇
How Colleges Can Keep Players
I believe there are a few ways that could work, albeit not all of them are feasible for every school.
1. Increased Stipends
As some of you may know, colleges have the ability to provide cost of attendance, academic awards, and stipends to their student-athletes.
Depending on the school, this can result in a lot of side-money.
My brother plays Division 1 basketball at Binghamton University in New York and he receives a cost of attendance check every semester that is meant to pay for rent and food.
However, he always has a few thousand left over (and that’s only at the mid-major level)
Here’s what some of the top schools give out per semester:
School’s/athletic programs have gotten creative in recent years regarding payments for good grades and other academic awards.
By increasing some of these payments (or adding more incentive-based ones) it makes it harder for players to leave — knowing they might not be receiving these at the next school.
2. Top Notch Facilities + Amenities
I think this one is pretty obvious, but it does require more of an investment from athletic departments.
Players love the bells and whistles:
When one of my teammates transferred in from a Power 5 school, he had a hard time getting use to all the things he had to do on his own — such as cooking, studying, rebounding his own shots, and walking to class.
It’s hard to give up those little things, which is why it’s no coincidence the most successful programs put a lot of resources in to their facilities and amenities.
These things attract talent, but also help to retain it. The ROI is positive.
When I was hooping at Boston University - we rarely had any undergraduates transfer.
The paper certificate you receive upon graduating is just too valuable.
Kids on my team were fine with not playing just to get their degree from BU.
Entering the transfer portal might have meant an increased role in your sport, but most likely a downgrade in education.
I’m sure the same thing happens at other prestigious universities that offer full athletic scholarships such as Duke, Stanford, and Lehigh.
While this isn’t applicable to most universities, there are other ways to get players to think about staying beyond just the paper certificate.
By helping athletes secure internships, meet alumni, get jobs, and feel a sense of security upon graduation - you would help keep some of the ones on the fence.
As a full-ride scholarship athlete, one of the greatest stresses is feeling like you’re falling behind peers — they have fancy internships in the summer, while you’re doing 5am workouts.
4. Pay The Players
Before I get in to this, I already know what you’re thinking…
“Paying the players is going to make the problem worse.”
“This isn’t possible because of anti-trust laws.”
And you might be right, but stop thinking about what it is currently and start envisioning what it could be.
How do schools get high-level coaches to stay?
They give them a long-term contract that pays well.
This provides a safety-net for coaches and allows them to focus on their job at hand —which is winning games.
If the coach gets fired, they still receive a severance package. If the coach decides to leave, then the contract is void and a new school picks up the tab.
What if you could do the same thing for players?
Well, it’s already kind of happening…
NIL collectives are putting together contracts for the top players (even though this is technically not allowed).
I have insider sources telling me that many of these 5-star athletes are meeting with NIL collectives about what their pay will look like throughout their career and what other benefits come with it - cars, apartment, jewelry, etc.
How much you’ll be getting paid through name, image, and likeness will have a major impact on recruiting going forward.
Paying college players legally is here. You can thank or curse NIL for that.
Finish out the week strong and enjoy St. Patty’s this weekend. You’ve earned it.
I’ll be back on Sunday for the weekly roundup.
I was recently on the Athletes and Assets Podcast with Noah Lack.
We talked about everything from NIL to Web 3.0 and athletes making big-time business moves.