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The GW Hatchet


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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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NCAA’s transfer portal, explained

File Photo by Sabrina Godin | Senior Staff Photographer
Twelve men’s basketball players have transferred from the University during the past four schools years since the launch of the transfer portal.

Men’s basketball lost two of its top three scorers from the past season when sophomore guard Joe Bamisile and freshman guard Brayon Freeman announced this month that they will transfer from GW.

The two first indicated their transfer considerations when they entered the NCAA Transfer Portal following the firing of the team’s entire coaching staff, including former Head Coach Jamion Christian, at the end of the season in March.

Athletes can enter the transfer portal – known as the “notification for transfer” – minutes after informing their team and the NCAA that they are considering transferring. The model is meant to manage and facilitate the process of student-athlete transfers between member institutions, but since its launch in 2018, it has pulled away some of the team’s top talent with 12 transfers during Christian’s tenure.

As GW enters the summer looking to restock talent with a new head coach, here’s what you should know about the NCAA’s portal for student-athlete transfers:

How does it work?
The transfer process starts when a student-athlete approaches their coach and GW’s compliance department – the office in charge of enforcing NCAA rules and regulations in every member institution – to declare their intention to enter the transfer portal, the institution then has 48 hours to release the students information into the database. The portal connects students with recruiters from other schools, helping them boost their name through the NCAA.

Student-athletes have to complete a division-specific educational model on the transferring process before the compliance office can enter their names into the database. Athletes can remove their names from the transfer portal and choose not to be contacted by other coaches in the division.

What are the pros and cons of entering the portal?
The portal enforces stronger “ethical recruitment” in line with NCAA regulations, restricts universities from withholding aid from athletes considering transferring and requires regular conference rule reviews, according to the NCAA’s information page.

If students choose to stay at the same university after entering the transfer portal, athletic departments decrease or cancel aid for athletes or refuse to readmit a student into the athletic program.

The NCAA allowed students last year to transfer once during their collegiate career without any punishment on their play time after instituting a one-time transfer exception for all basketball players. A second transfer will require a player to sit out for the remainder of a year and extend athletic eligibility by one school year.

How has the transfer portal affected GW?
Twelve men’s basketball players have transferred from the University during the past four schools years since the launch of the transfer portal – 11 of which came after former Head Coach Jamion Christian joined GW.

Men’s basketball has the highest transfer rates of any NCAA sport, with 33 percent of athletes transferring at least once in their career across the league. Teams with regular coaching changes have the highest transfer rates in the league with an average of 14.75 players transferring each year since 2012, according to an article by the Athletic Director U.

The past three basketball seasons have been transient for GW’s men’s basketball team – the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 conference slate, COVID-19 cases interrupted the schedule of games in the 2020-2021 season and Christian and the entire coaching staff were fired after the season in 2022. A total of 11 players transferred from GW during Christian’s tenure, the highest of any GW coach in the last 10 years. 

GW has also brought talent to the team through the transfer portal, attracting Bamisile, junior guard James Bishop and senior forward Ricky Lindo Jr. Head Coach Chris Caputo said in his introductory press conference that he plans to recruit talent from the DMV area through the transfer portal.

Christian’s firing prompted three men’s basketball players to enter the transfer portal after their run at the A-10 championship in mid-March. Bamisile and freshman guard Brayon Freeman have transferred to Oklahoma and Rhode Island, respectively.

The women’s team also suffered mass player migration after the firing of Head Coach Jennifer Rizzotti last year, which pushed five players to enter the transfer portal after the culmination of the season. Two players have announced their transfer for the 2022-23 season so far.

Head Coach Caroline McCombs announced on Friday that graduate student Mia Lakstigala will transfer to GW from the University of Pennsylvania for her final eligibility year. Lakstigala averaged a career-high 10.9 points along with 5.5 rebounds and 2 assists this past season.

As next season looms, the men’s and women’s basketball teams look to build their rosters through the transfer portal to gain the necessary talent for an A-10 championship crown.

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