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NCAA: 40 percent of scholarship FBS players do not find scholarships on the other side of the transfer portal

Ahead of the transfer portal deadline, the NCAA has released some numbers proving that transferring is a risky move for most FBS football players.

It seems like every week is an active one in the Transfer Portal, but this will be an especially active one, for two reasons. First, most (all?) programs have wrapped spring ball, so every active FBS player has a clear picture of where he stands in his coaches' minds. And second, Sunday represents something of a hard deadline for the transfer portal; May 1 is the final day a fall or winter athlete can enter the Portal and remain eligible to compete for the 2022-23 athletic year.

Ahead of that Sunday deadline, the NCAA for the first time unveiled a treasure trove of Transfer Portal data, covering the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. "The dashboard was created in response to requests from the membership for more transparency in Transfer Portal data to help student-athletes make informed decisions about transferring," the NCAA's page reads.

And, boy, does this project provide some information.

First off, the Portal was more active in 2021 than '20. One should expect the numbers to rise in '22 as well.

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Unsurprisingly, December and January are the most active Portal months, followed by April and May. One hundred twenty-nine pour souls Portaled last August.

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And now for the most crucial part. Four in 10 Portal entrants did not find a home equal or better to the one they left. This chart shows that only 54 percent of entrants found a home at an FBS school.

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Next, only 59 percent of scholarship transfers found scholarships at FBS school. Eight percent left their scholarships to become walk-ons elsewhere, while a full third remain stuck in limbo. Incredibly, 18 percent of walk-ons that Portaled managed to find a scholarship at their new school.

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Transferring at the FCS level is even riskier. Only a third of Portalers find a scholarship awaiting them on the other side.

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And only 36 percent of FCS transfers find a Division I school willing to take them, period. 

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Finally, the NCAA's year-by-year and sport-by-sport data is also informative. In 2020, 10 percent of FBS and FCS players entered the Portal. In 2021, that number grew to 12 percent (FCS) and 16 percent (FBS). While that is indeed a big jump -- 2,538 FBS players entered the Portal in 2021, the most of any sport -- it's nothing compared to basketball. Twenty-two percent of women's basketball players entered the Portal in 2021, and a whopping 31 percent of men's hoopers did the same. (Rowing is the least active Portal sport, at 2 percent.)

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View all the data for yourself here.

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