Has the Transfer Portal Slapped the Sanctity of College Basketball.. or Saved it?

Kel'el Ware, Indiana Men's Basketball
Kel'el Ware, Indiana Men's Basketball / David Berding/GettyImages
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The transfer portal has wildly altered the entire landscape of college basketball. But is the change for the better or the worse?

Big Ten icon Tom Izzo went on record back in October to lament heavy criticisms on the game's trending staple, and following his furious footsteps was fellow B1G shot-caller Fran McAffery. The coaches are just two of the many basketball personalities/fans that have ripped some of the new rules and regulations tied to the portal.

One of the chief concerns affiliated with the portal (and some/all of the new NIL laws) is centered around a dip in the competitive nature of the sport. That goes hand-in-hand with the idea that loyalty is no longer a cornerstone of college basketball as it once was. Rewind 10 years, and you will recall a time when a player transferring from one school to another was quite rare in college hoops. Now, players have free reign to swap schools with little to no pressure.

With that being said, this heightened sense of freedom does bode well in terms of player empowerment. It is important to remember that college basketball players have always been legal adults, and fans attending games to watch them have always been paying customers. With that in mind, college basketball has always been a subliminal business without the label. The players have been, to an extent, unpaid employees (although they do receive a free education for their services).

Would any employee in their right mind want to work for a company that did not offer them any type of monetary compensation?

When it comes to the player freedom which the transfer portal entails, we must also bare in mind that employees always have the choice to seek other employment opportunities if they grow unhappy with their present situation. If a college basketball player commits to a school but never receives the type of opportunity which they were proposed, why should they not have the freedom to seek greener pastures?

Would any employee in their right mind want to work for a company that did not provide them the type of opportunities for which they signed up?

The transfer portal and the entire NIL universe have their fair share of criticisms, but there are reasons to be optimistic about it all. First and foremost, players that swap scenery have a fresh start. If you have ever encountered hardship in life, then you understand how vital a fresh start in the healing process.

Breaking that down to basketball terms, consider the curious case of Indiana's Kel'el Ware.