Will Another Rule Change Make USC A Recruiting Elysium

The "one-time" rule of the transfer portal may be going away. What does this mean for USC, and how does it affect the program going forward?

Phil Robinson
USC Trojan Offense 2022 Spring Game. Photo Credit: Ryan Dyrud | LAFB Network
USC Trojans 2022 Spring Game. Photo Credit: Ryan Dyrud | LAFB Network

Will Another Rule Change Make USC A Recruiting Elysium

USC and UCLA both elected to leave the Pac-12 conference in 2024 and join the BIG 10. Placing them in the super conference and in the national spotlight once more. Now a potential transfer reversal of an established rule can benefit USC even more.

The NCAA transfer portal debuted in October of 2018, with virtually no guidelines except that the student-athlete is required to notify their current school by May 1st of each academic year. Students have to be athletically eligible for whatever school they choose as well.

What The Change Means For The Students

This change could potentially give student-athletes the ability to pick up and leave any situation that they deem no longer of interest and begin again. It gives students and their families, nearly complete control over their collegiate career. It necessitates athletes who want to transfer, be quality students, and more than just ringers for big-time programs.

No more one-time rules, which ensure no player gets recruited to a university and then is stuck after the coach finds employment elsewhere. Being stuck in a coach’s doghouse is a thing of the past as well, and no player who thinks his talent and career are being stifled would have to stay. What we now call college football has changed drastically in favor of student-athletes (for now).

What is concerning is, who is looking out for the best interests of these kids? Potentially, these kids and their parents are managing a potential multimillion-dollar brand without prior experience. “Agent” is a dirty word in the NCAA. Expecting students to do everything a licensed, practicing agent does is preposterous. Somewhere down the road, things will get very ugly for students unable to successfully manage their own empires.

How Does This Benefit USC

Lincoln Riley and his recruiting staff were the most successful purveyors of the transfer portal this offseason. Los Angeles is the country’s second-largest media market, and joining the BIG10 only strengthens its position as a national powerhouse. USC has demonstrated that its cup runneth over with riches for student-athletes.

With all of the advantages USC can offer a student-athlete, the scales could be tipped even further in their favor. An unhappy player, someone in need of a change of scenery, could be free to put on the choosing shoes and join the Trojans at any point in the season. Or vice-versa, a disgruntled player could just as easily leave.

As Nicole Auerbach, so graciously alluded to, schools accepting incoming transfers are responsible for paying financial aid for the remainder of their careers. Inversely, outgoing transfers should return or reallocate aid back to the school. Or, that will be another of many issues left to be determined.

At Its Worst

At its worst, this could be the final lock on Pandora’s box being opened. Complete and total anarchy. Athletes will be promised the world fresh out of high school. Rewarding a lack of accountability, and allowing players to have the freedom to be the ultimate free agent Freedoms that even NFL players aren’t afforded.

Recruiting will enter the modern equivalent of the Wild West. Coaches and boosters will be poaching players off other schools’ rosters openly pre-and post-game. Money brings a whole new element to the party. Investors and brands don’t make money by losing it. The potential for this to be an awesome new twist exists. The opportunity for this to go horribly wrong exists equally.