Comedian Jerry Seinfeld talked about free agency in sports in a stand-up comedy bit he did in the early 90s. He referred to the effects the dynamic movement of players in a few simple sentences.

"You're rooting for clothes, when you get right down to it,” Seinfeld said. “We're screaming about laundry."

The transfer portal in college sports, recently newsworthy due to numerous announcements and moves in college football, will begin to change the complexion of college football in the same manner. We shouldn’t kid ourselves about college sports turning into another level of free agency, though. We have been rooting for clothes at the collegiate level for over a century before one-and-done in basketball, and draft eligibility after the third year in college football.

The NCAA just added Name in Likeness – NIL – as a legal revenue stream for amateur athletes.

I don’t have a problem with NIL, nor do I have any qualms about the transfer portal. I do, however, believe these programs were set up in haste. This is the difference between the leadership of academia, and the leadership of the NFL. The latter are a collection of billionaires with success among other industries, and the ability to develop beneficial programs and benefits to athletes with careful consideration to essential controls.

I believe the NCAA should hire a Chief Risk Officer – CRO – among its executive ranks. I believe the NCAA would not have ruled to implement NIL and the transfer portal hastily if there were an accomplished CRO in the board room.

Athletes can enter the transfer portal at any point in the season, as opposed to the trade deadlines and the limited free agent signing seasons in place under the NFL’s shield. This is more disruptive than the parameters in place in the NFL.

The NCAA also did not put any limits for earnings related to NIL, so much like Major League Baseball, the richest schools and boosters will attract most of the talent looking to benefit from NIL while they earn the chance to work their way from their very first practice through their declaration for the draft.

This lack of due diligence and risk assessment by the NCAA just fortifies the stereotype many of us have about collegiate institutions and athletics lacking awareness of how things work in the business world.

As far as I’m concerned regarding the movement of players in the transfer portal, I would have been just as fine with it 35 years ago as I am with it today. The two organizations I worked for the longest (10 years in the Air Force, 12 years in a vinyl building products corporation) were experiences where the longevity on the surface looks impressive, but my longevity was, in truth, attributable to continued changes in roles, reassignment among military bases, and great opportunities to change my scope and my span of control within each organization.

It’s easy to move around today whether you’re a production worker in manufacturing, an executive in a large company, or you’re in the sports and entertainment industries. The economy is robust, and it’s a job-seeker’s market these days, but I’ve moved around during recessions, too. The economic climate did not deter me from determining whether it was time to change positions.

I’ll exclude my Air Force service for this fun fact. I am on my ninth employer since my honorable discharge date of 31 Dec 1994, nine employers in 27 years (and the meter is always running).

I’ve only been “let go” once when my position was eliminated a little more than five years ago, and the company afforded me 45 days to transition my workload among two VP’s staying in place, and a severance in turn. Sweet deal. I still ask myself whether I was let go, or set free?

Now college athletes will get to do the same. It will be interesting to see whether their shortcomings will follow them to their gaining teams. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but when you leave an organization, you must take a personal inventory and determine if there are any problems where you’re the root cause, and how those problems will affect your performance and satisfaction with the new university, team, or company.

The transfer portal works nicely for the college athletic programs, too, because it frees up a scholarship the coaches used to fill a position where the results did not yield their desired fruit. The transfer portal gave the 2019 Louisiana State University Tigers the ingredient they needed (Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow) for a college football national championship. Burrow landed in a program where his skill set was a better fit. It freed up a scholarship for The Ohio State University’s football program.

Do you believe institutions like Alabama, and Ohio State would buy into something like this otherwise? Another name for the transfer portal could be the annual housecleaning portal?