STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) — The transfer portal has been around for five years and, while the NCAA is constantly tweaking the rules, we have seen positives and negatives. Georgia Southern women’s basketball coach Anita Howard talks about what she likes and dislikes about the transfer portal. 

“The old school coach in me,” Howard said. “I don’t like the portal.”

Coach Howard explained she thinks it can provide athletes with an easy out to give up, but she added she thinks it’s necessary in today’s game. 

“With coaches changing, with the state of mental health so prevalent right now,” Howard said, 

“I think it allows players to have an outlet when there is a necessary need for them to have an outlet.”

When a player wants to enter the portal, they inform the school’s compliance officer. Then the player’s name is entered into a private database with contact information other coaches can view. It is important to note, the player is giving up their scholarship.

“Legislation now has come out where if you’re current student athlete does not get picked up, it’s on the current institution to uphold that scholarship. That is the way the NCAA is moving.”

But that does not mean the player has to be a member of the team. Players have to enter the portal by a certain date, but there is no end date for when a new school can grab them from the portal.

Coach Howard feels the portal hurts high school players.

“Sadly,” Howard said, “coaches they have the kind of pressure on them to win immediately. The old school way of doing things of getting those freshman, maturing those freshman on to seniors, but you’re losing. Especially at the mid-major ranks, like I am at Georgia Southern.”

So her advice to high school players, if they have an offer, is to commit a little earlier.

“If we wait around for the portal to open,” Howard said, “then that’s where your coaches are going to go shopping a little bit. So, I think sometimes I think the high school players miss out. I do think junior colleges are becoming a little more stronger because those high school schoolers that typically would have gotten a Division 1 scholarship are going to JuCo and working on their talents and then going to Division 1 schools.” 

And the portal adds a new element to coaching: Continuing to recruit their current roster.

“We have a Terren Ward,” Howard said. “Who will probably be the preseason player of the year in the Sun Belt. You have Power 5s that might come knocking at her door. We just lost the player of the year in the Sun Belt two years in a row to Tennessee the previous year and the Lousiville this year.”

Coach Howard added Terren Ward, her top player, was in the portal two years ago. But, Ward ultimately decided to remain an eagle after talking with the coaching staff.