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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Opinion: Texas State football should capitalize off transfer rule

Transfer+portal+column
Transfer portal column

It is no secret that the Texas State football program has struggled since moving from NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in 2012.
During its decade-long tenure in the FBS, Texas State has compiled an overall record of 38–87, parted ways with two head coaches due to lack of on-field success and has never received a postseason bowl game bid. Texas State’s lone winning season as an FBS team came in 2014 under head coach Dennis Franchione.
Texas State’s attempt to build a winning football program for the past decade has not worked. Something needs to change if it has any desire to win games consistently and contend for a conference championship. That something could be the NCAA’s one-time transfer rule.
After being ratified, the one-time transfer rule officially took effect on April 28, 2021, and allows student-athletes the option to transfer to a different school and play immediately one time during their collegiate career. Student-athletes often seek transfers because of issues such as playing time, coaching changes and homesickness. Previously, the rule stated that athletes were required to get permission from their head coach and school athletic department, and if allowed, they would have to sit out the following season.
Despite having been met with criticism from national championship-winning Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, the one-time transfer rule was quickly embraced by athletes. According to Heartland College Sports, more than 2,000 college football players elected to enter the transfer portal before the season. Redshirt senior defensive end Nelson Mbanasor is one of them.
Mbanasor joined Texas State before the season after spending the last five years at Texas Tech. He has been a tremendous addition to the Bobcat’s defensive line, registering six tackles, one sack and one forced fumble through their first four games.
“I put my name into the portal to find the situation that will help me best to get to the next level,” Mbanasor said.
Since the rule was set in place, numerous Power Five teams have taken full advantage of it, turning to the portal to tweak slightly or significantly upgrade their rosters. Texas State is no exception, as head coach Jake Spavital and his coaching staff have utilized the portal heavily. As a result, out of the 85 players on Texas State’s current roster, 69 are transfers, 18 of which transferred from the Power Five.
According to 247sports, Texas State only signed a total of three high school recruits last cycle. The team already has a large number of underclassmen primarily because of Spavital’s new approach to recruitment in which constructs the team’s roster primarily the transfer portal.
By doing so, he has increased the team’s talent substantially from a season ago. Texas State has been able to attract talented players such as redshirt senior wide receiver and punt returner Rontavius Groves, a transfer from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
According to Groves, he chose to transfer to Texas State due to the opportunity it presented him on the field, as he felt the spread offense fit his skillset. With the change of scenery, Groves thinks it makes the team much more competitive.
“I think it makes the team better because we all come here with the mindset of, we got to do exactly what needs to be done,” Groves said. “We come here behind the curve so you got to try your best to impress and show what you’re capable of. Having a team full of those types of guys is more attention to detail it’s more of want to its more guys who really depend on this sport, so I think having a team full of transfers is beneficial.”
The transfer portal has forever changed college football. If utilized correctly, it could become invaluable to Texas State moving forward as it allows them the opportunity to potentially add talented players that they usually would have little to no chance of being able to recruit out of high school. Even just two or three of these kinds of players would greatly enhance Texas State’s roster and very well could be the difference between a losing season and a bowl-eligible season.
Not only does the transfer portal improve the team’s level of talent, but the level of cohesiveness as well.
“Us having a lot of older guys out of the portal gives us an advantage because it’s a lot more experience,” Mbanasor said. “I feel like we play well especially as a defense a lot of guys are fifth even sixth-year guys, so I feel like that’s helped us a lot over the course of the season.”
Not everyone is optimistic about the transfer portal. As Alabama head coach Nick Saban said, it is “unsustainable.” Those who believe it is only beneficial to the top-tier FBS teams as it allows them to freely poach the best players from the Group of Five’s by offering them a more lucrative opportunity. As a result, they significantly improve their chances of making it to the NFL.
While all of this is true and will happen, the transfer portal can still benefit Group of Five’s.
Only four weeks into the college football season, there has been one of the most memorable Septembers in recent memory, all thanks to the transfer portal. Appalachian State upset sixth-ranked Texas A&M at Kyle Field, Marshall defeated eighth-ranked Notre Dame in South Bend and Georgia Southern beat Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska. These are the first and surely not the last Group of Five upsets over notable Power Five’s now that the one-time transfer rule exists.
All three teams, as mentioned earlier, are members of the Sun Belt Conference with Texas State. Altogether, those teams have 89 transfer players on their rosters, showcasing precisely how they all decided to dip into the portal to improve their rosters this past offseason and, as a result, earned them significant victories.
If these teams can accomplish such a monumentally impressive feat by merely convincing a handful of players from the transfer portal to come and play for their teams, there is no reason Texas State cannot emulate it. But it must begin with the transfer portal.
“I think having a lot of transfers will show that this program is about business, that we can win here and will also attract the younger talent coming out of high school,” Groves said.
Texas State has gotten off to a decent start in this new era of the transfer portal, laying a solid recruiting foundation. Building on that by striving to bring in the most talented transfer recruits possible to reach lofty new heights.
For Texas State, the transfer portal could be the golden ticket to becoming the type of FBS program it strives to be.
– David Cuevas is a journalism junior
The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinions Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

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