By Michael Heck MS, LPC
Recently, I’ve had a handful of intriguing, yet challenging, conversations about the transfer portal with the collegiate student-athletes I work with. These talks have sparked my interest because we are in a new era of how scholarship and business are being done to better serve the student-athlete who would like to explore alternative opportunities to play at a different school. We are experiencing the evolution of collegiate sports in real-time. The student-athlete now has an increased amount of leverage other than the initial signature of commitment. Another influence being added to the transfer portal is the impact of NIL; however, NIL currently impacts a small population of athletes and will be discussed at a later time.
As an associate with the Institute of Sports Performance, I work with collegiate athletes regarding their mental and emotional approach to their performance and/or injury recovery. Often the issues are related to self-talk or emotional regulation within the athlete; feeling stressed for a variety of reasons: injuries, team culture, relationships, and academics. However, the added dynamic of the transfer portal is reshaping collegiate athletics daily.
First, this is not an op-ed piece on the transfer portal. However, I am curious about how it will evolve college athletics and shape programs. I am curious to see if this process enables the “survival of the fittest” mentality like I believe it does. I believe that Division I, II, and III athletics are important parts of shaping leaders who will serve in other careers or start families once their playing days have concluded. Student-athletes, more often than not, are preparing to launch into a career while playing a sport. I’m interested in how the transfer portal will impact global collegiate athletics and the formation of student-athletes. I’m also interested in supporting athletes to make well-informed decisions when they are contemplating transferring. [Read more…]