Jan 24, 2022 - Sports

College basketball's "wild flea market"

GIF of a basketball player with a jersey changing colors.
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The NCAA's new one-time transfer policy has fundamentally altered college sports. And while football has garnered most of the headlines, basketball has been impacted just as much, if not more.

What they're saying: The Athletic spoke to 17 college hoops coaches about the transfer portal, which has "transformed the notion of roster building into a wild flea market of back-channel dealings."

  • "If you see a guy playing well at a mid-major right now, you might as well kiss that guy goodbye. Seriously. That's a fact," said one anonymous coach told The Athletic.
  • "There aren't many real NIL opportunities in college basketball, but you've still got third parties telling these kids, 'Hey come here, and I can swing a deal for you.' Kids don't know the difference," said another.

The big picture: The impact of pseudo free agency coming to college sports extends to the high school ranks, where recruits now must compete with transfers for scholarships and roster spots.

"If you're a local high school kid and you get a D-I offer, you better take it. If you're not a top 50 kid and you have an offer, take it. You wait until March and it's not going to be there."
ā€” Anonymous coach, via The Athletic

Go deeper: NCAA calls on each sport to set eligibility rules for trans athletes

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