Serving Franklin County, WA

Taking care of business

Around about this time of the football season many teams have a bye or are coming off a bye week. The long 11-12 game seasons call for a break to heal up and catch your breath. This also allows coaching staffs to go on the road and recruit high school and Junior College athletes in order to fill vacancies in next year’s roster. Kids graduate or injuries will knock out a quality athlete but the position needs a replacement

National signing day has become a big deal where a 4-5 star athlete that has been recruited by numerous colleges will hold a signing party where the athlete will have 3 or 4 hats from the competing schools and then when the big moment arrives the recruit chooses a hat and those in attendance scream and applaud. Mom gets a big kiss and hug and dad is there for his man hug as well. The player’s coach is ecstatic and gets in on the congratulatory celebration.

When it comes time to tell the world why he chose that particular institution he will often say that it just felt right and I really like the family atmosphere that State or Tech has going for it; that good things can happen there. He will also say something like our team will be competing for conference and national championships and that he can’t wait to be on campus and get into that awesome weight room and practice facility. By the way who writes this stuff for them?

If you watch several games on a Saturday like I do you will hear the commentators as they talk about the players on the team. There are a bunch of these guys that may not have been recruited by the team they are now playing for. But now that we have the Transfer Portal thanks to COVID-19 players that were once welcomed with open arms are looking for playing time elsewhere and these highly recruited athletes are no longer enamored by the glitz of a Clemson and can find a more stable and loving home at an Oregon State. When this happens I can support the Transfer Portal.

I can say it’s interesting that all of the fanfare takes place when these kids are seniors but the celebration isn’t very much when the transfer is announced. Oh I know the coaches and fans in the know are excited but as we have seen already when a transfer from Kansas left Gonzaga for another school before school was even in session. Weird. Finding a home is not easy for today’s college athlete.

There are not a lot of Cooper Kupp’s in this world. Here was a guy that could have gone pro or been a graduate transfer and played for a top rated program somewhere else in the nation but he chose to stay at EWU in order to play one more year with his brother and the class that he was recruited with. I happen to think that the Eagle fans had something to do with it but we are proud of the way this guy plays and how humble he is.

The Transfer Portal was meant for athletes that were playing for a team that decided to cut short seasons because of COVID outbreaks on the team. Because of the strange seasons players were allowed and extra year of eligibility and some took advantage of that. There is no truth to the rumor that some of these players were on campus so long that they are now teaching some classes.

So the Transfer Portal has been helpful in the building of teams with older kids with some playing experience. There is game film on how they played against competitive teams which is a better indicator of just how good a recruit is compared to another high-schooler who is 16-18 years of age.

The Transfer Portal has made for big changes in the college sports world. It has had huge ramifications in football and basketball but it has influenced other sports as well. Coaching staffs need to be on their toes to see if a kid that was unknown out of high school has made the big jump physically and mentally to be a great college player. Coaches must be dedicated to finding that player or players who can change the fortunes of their college athletic program.

— Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. To contact him, email [email protected].


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