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Central Texas athletes could feel impact from new era of college athletics

Coaches have mixed feelings about a new college world that includes NIL deals and non-stop transferring that will impact athletes in Central Texas

WACO, Texas — It's being billed as the 'Wild, Wild, West'. 

A new era of college athletics, which includes lucrative NIL deals and non-stop transferring from the premier athletes in the nation, is upon us. 

“They think that if their kids don’t go Division I that their a failure," MCC basketball coach Kevin Gill told 6 Sports. 

There are plenty of opinions from coaches and players as to what this new era means for the game and recruitment moving forward. 

The changes began in 2021, when the NCAA passed a one-time transfer rule exemption. It allows all athletes, even in the main revenue sports, to transfer without sitting out a year. 

A few months later came a new Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) policy, which reimagines the ways that coaches can draw players to their programs by allowing student-athletes to accept endorsement deals and partnerships. 

“I think it’s a toxic mixture, and I think what it does is its counter-intuitive and counter-productive to the core values that god calls us to have and as young men we need and as young people we need," Temple head football coach Scott Stewart said. 

CBS Sports national football writer Dennis Dodd says that this change is here to stay. 

“I do not think we are going backwards," he said. "The reason the portal is there, the reason the one-time transfer is in place is because of the legal liability of not doing it.”

The result has been nothing short of wild. Sports Illustrated's Ross Dillinger reports that in the current eight month transfer portal, the number of FBS football athletes entering has already surpassed all of 2020-2021 alone. He tweeted that more an average of 20 football players per team are entering, mostly walk-ons. 

Baylor has felt the pressure already. After naming Blake Shapen as their starting QB this spring, former starter Gerry Bohanon entered the portal and subsequently left for the University of South Florida. 

Offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes says it's another thing to juggle. 

“You have to be aware of it certainly," he said. "If you pretend it doesn’t exist then you’re gonna wind up like you’re behind the eight ball, a little bit.”

There is a positive side of this change which is more freedom for D1 athletes. However, that also means those at the junior college and high schools levels could be negatively impacted. 

“Is see it from the aspect of good high school players who are waiting around for a Division I scholarship but a guy who is 21-years-old that has stats, numbers, and experience behind him, I cant blame the college coach for taking a college player with experience behind him."

Dodd spoke with someone who oversees the National Letter of Intent program for the NCAA which tracks high school recruits taking their game to the next level. They told Dodd that while it's too early to tell if a serious problem could arise, they have seen situations. 

“It looks like this year, through the February singing day, there are less high school players, I would hardly call that a trend, but I think that’s something to think about," he said. 

Stewart has seen it first-hand. 

“I have seen exponentially less coaches because they’re shopping that portal.” 

As the words portal and phrase NIL become synonymous with the college landscape, we head down an uncharted path that will change the teams we root for and who plays for them. 

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