Over 16,000 kids have entered the transfer portal between 2020 and 2021

A lot of kids have entered the transfer portal since its inception.

A lot of kids have entered the transfer portal since its inception.
Image: Getty Images

These kids know their worth.

As the landscape of collegiate sports is in the midst of a historic shift, as NCAA President Mark Emmert has announced that he will step down no later than June 2023 — a year after his contract had been extended until 2025 — the combination of NIL and the transfer portal have forever changed how a billion-dollar industry built off unpaid labor operates.


And at the heart of that is player empowerment, as college athletes can now legally make money and are free to decide where they want to play. But, at the same time, some of this is getting out of hand.

According to a new dashboard from the NCAA, over 16,000 college athletes jumped into the transfer portal between 2020 and 2021. It should be noted that during this time frame student-athletes were granted an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic. And when you add that in with NIL coming into play along with college athletes now having the option to transfer schools without their coach’s approval, you can see why the numbers are so high.

But, even still, almost 20,000 players changing schools is a lot.

According to the dashboard, in 2020, 5,072 undergrads and 1,631 graduate students packed up U-Hauls. And in 2021, the number of undergrads jumped to 6,475, while grad students rose to 3,092. The numbers show that 76 percent of transfers come from Division I programs, 22 percent from Division II, and only 2 percent from Division III. The most interesting stat is that the majority of the movement happens between March and June, which coincidentally coincides with graduation season, the conclusion of the spring semester, and March Madness.

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And for all those fans that are hoping that a player who enters the portal will return to campus, well, according to the data it’s a pipedream. Only 7 percent withdraw from the portal compared to 49 percent that enroll at a new school.

Check this out from Axios, as they broke down the 10 sports with the highest percentage of athletes who entered the portal between 2020 and 2021.


The ladies:

  • Basketball: 22% (1,134)
  • Beach volleyball: 15% (167)
  • Tennis: 12% (340)
  • Volleyball: 12% (650)
  • Softball: 11% (764)
  • Soccer: 11% (909)
  • Ice hockey: 8% (63)
  • Lacrosse: 8% (317)
  • Golf: 7% (162)
  • Track & field: 6% (864)

The fellas:

  • Basketball: 31% (1,692 athletes)
  • Baseball: 18% (2,126)
  • FBS football: 16% (2,538)
  • Soccer: 13% (755)
  • Tennis: 13% (325)
  • FCS football: 12% (1,546)
  • Ice hockey: 12% (205)
  • Lacrosse: 9% (321)
  • Track & field: 8% (905)
  • Wrestling: 8% (207)

Whoever takes over for Mark Emmert has small shoes to fill, given how horrible he was at his job. However, that doesn’t mean that the job isn’t a daunting one. Beyond leading the NCAA through the NIL era, the next president’s biggest job may be figuring out a logistical way to input a system that can handle 16,000-plus college kids changing rosters each year.

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