Depending on whom you ask, Deion Sanders is either the best thing or the worst thing that has hit college football since the transfer portal. Last weekend Sanders and his Colorado Buffaloes shocked the sports world by beating the second-best team in the nation from a year ago — TCU, 45-42. This was after he had already spent the offseason shocking the sports world with his burn-down-the-roster approach as the team’s new coach.
For the record, Colorado won one game last season, losing by an average margin of 29 points. But this isn’t the same Colorado team. Sanders has turned college football on its head because he has driven off players en masse since arriving in Boulder last winter. He brought in 86 new players (70% of the roster), including 53 new transfers (more than half of them since spring practice ended), which is a record (and then some) for roster turnover. Only 10 scholarship players remain from last year.
This has brought criticism from every corner — from coaches, broadcasters, media.
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi, whose portal losses include NFL receiver Jordan Addison to USC and quarterback Kedon Slovis to BYU, complained about Sanders to 247Sports, saying, “That’s not the way (the portal) was meant to be. That’s not what the rule intended to be. It was not to overhaul your roster. … (It) looks bad on college football coaches across the country …. those kids that have moms and dads and brothers and sisters and goals in life — I don’t know how many of those 70 that left really wanted to leave or they were kicked in the butt to get out.”
To which Sanders correctly replied, “He is not mad at me, he is mad at the situation in football now …”
Exactly. The situation. Narduzzi says this was not the intention of the transfer portal, but where is that written? He says it was not intended to overhaul a roster, but where is that written? College football’s coaching community might be upset with Sanders, but he only did what the rules allowed, and he exploited them (the rules and rival coaches). Nobody with a brain thinks the transfer portal and the NIL — especially in combination — should be able to function as they do now, but no one has done anything about it except complain.