The announcement on Monday of the Diamond Direction Softball Portal Showcase to take place in Atlanta on June 14, 2020 brought up a lot of opinions on both sides of one of the hot topics in softball today: the Transfer Portal.
As noted in the release issued by Diamond Direction, college coaches have expressed a strong interest in attending the Portal Showcase as a “one-stop shopping” opportunity to see eligible college players right after seeing recruitable club players that weekend at travel ball tournaments in the Atlanta and Birmingham areas.
“Based on our conversations with college coaches, we expect each conference in NCAA Division I to be represented at the event,” said Nate Eaton, the President of Diamond Direction.
The reaction to the announcement of this unique event has been unique, from what we’ve seen and heard over the last 24 hours: it’s not been directed so much at the Diamond Direction Softball Portal Showcase itself, but more so to the topic of the Transfer Portal.
More specifically, the debate is focused more to the concern that college players are transferring schools more easily and at a higher rate than ever before.
Yesterday, Jeff Filali, who has had success at several levels in softball including founding the Tulsa Elite Softball Organization in 2007, producing multiple tournaments including the Tulsa Elite Summer Invitational and even coaching at junior college powerhouse Butler Community College (Kansas), weighed in on the issue.
Below are Jeff’s thoughts and perspectives on the transfer issue as he posted on social media Monday and are reprinted here with his permission (and formatted to fit our site).
--- Brentt Eads, Extra Inning Softball
The Current Climate of Transfers
I understand and agree things happen and there’s legitimate reasons to transfer, but in my opinion, the easier it’s made and the more publicity it’s getting will just encouraging student-athletes to not honor their commitments for illegitimate, petty reasons sometimes.
Maybe the NCAA should turn it into like a free agency and make the schools they transfer to pay back the school for the investment they made into that student-athlete, especially on those transferring mid-season or between their first and second seasons.
Mid-season transfers should have more restrictions for sure because there’s not enough time for the chain reaction it causes.
It’s like musical chairs: Player 1 transfers from School A to B, School A takes a player from School C, School C then has to find a player from School D, and on and on through a very short time period.
When school starts (in this hypothetical situation) and teams who left for the holiday break excited about their upcoming season return, they find out that they lost their two best pitchers and are going to be lucky to survive the season!
On the other side, you have the players who busted their butts all fall to earn that starting spot return from the holiday break only to find out the first day back that an All-American transferred in who will now start in their position.
Again, I’m not saying that playing time is all that matters, or a reason to transfer, but this is part of the problem; we’re teaching them that their hard work and loyalty means nothing, and now they end up transferring at the end of the season starting the chain reaction all over again.
What about coaches at the smaller D1, D2, NAIA, or Juco program who did their job to recruit and train a winning team only to lose their top players over the holidays to a D1 desperate to replace their players lost in the musical chair reaction?
Now they could have a bad losing season, with players who aren’t happy and maybe the coaches lose their job (because of the transfer chain reaction).
I’m not condemning Diamond Direction or others for offering additional opportunities for them to get exposure, I’m all for anyone who tries to fill a need to help student-athletes connect with potential scholarship opportunities. My opinion is on the current climate of transfers in general.
This is my 2 1/2 cents...which isn’t worth a penny!
--- Jeff Filali, Tulsa Elite
What do you think of the transfer situation in college softball? Believe it’s positive, negative or both for the sport? Feel free to send in your opinions and thoughts… note that we may use on our site or on social media unless you tell us otherwise!