Recently, I saw a comment on a Bleacher Report article that said “free agency has begun.”
The comment wasn’t talking about Major League Baseball’s free agency, which has been underway for nearly two months, but rather, for college football.
The comment struck me as odd initially, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
Oddly enough, I wrote these exact words in a September column, “I do understand that if players aren’t executing as well as coaches will have liked them to, but you can almost consider it a free agent thing like in professional sports.”
With new redshirt rules in place, a student-athlete can transfer to a different school and receive a scholarship without asking their current school for permission, which was implemented in a rule change made Oct. 15.
It started to gain prevalence when former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant announced that he planned to transfer after freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence supplanted Bryant.
It has become more apparent that student-athletes are now looking to transfer away from programs because they may not be getting the playing time they think they deserve or because it may just be a better overall situation.
To be honest, I was shocked when Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts wasn’t initially intending to transfer after being supplanted by Tua Tagovailoa.
Instead, Hurts stuck with Alabama and news came out that he has added his name to the transfer portal so he can possibly play elsewhere for his graduate season.
Now, he has a choice to play anywhere he chooses or he could return to Alabama, which I’m not sure why he would if he wants to play.
This week also saw that two Arkansas quarterbacks have decided to transfer.
Cole Kelley’s decision to transfer be because he lost his starting job to Ty Storey during the season and then had his snaps take over by freshman John Stephen Jones and Connor Noland.
He is transferring down a level to play at Southland Conference and UCA foe Southeastern Louisiana, which is Kelley’s home state.
Kelley transfer was announced last weekend, but then reports came out that Ty Storey has added his name to the transfer portal and he will seek to play elsewhere for his graduate season.
Though Arkansas still has Noland, Jones, Daulton Hyatt and incoming freshman KJ Jefferson.
However, none of those players are past their sophomore seasons and are likely still green.
But that is beside the point.
The University of Georgia has fallen victim to this as well with quarterback Justin Fields transferring to Ohio State, which in turn caused Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell to transfer.
UCA has also been the beneficiary of this new system as it received former Arkansas wide receivers Jarrod Barnes and Tobias Enlow.
I’m not sure it has hurt UCA yet. It may.
It has hurt Sam Houston State in the form of Remus Bulmer transferring.
This new system has caused more than 3,300 Division I athletes in the portal, including about 1,500 football players.
I have tried to find access to this portal, but it is only available to NCAA member schools and to coaches at the institution’s discretion.
The idea that this is a form of free agency is reality.