The University of Colorado football program hasn’t exactly had the best year with the NCAA Transfer Portal.
Colorado watched several top players depart and despite that creating ample opportunity in Boulder, the Buffs haven’t come close to making up for their losses. Nothing here is black and white, but the unique academic requirements to transfer into CU appears to be a major factor and one that has been exposed in recent months.
CU at the Game, a popular fan website, recently examined the issue and how it has impacted the Buffs. Below is a quick summary of the most important takeaways:
Chancellor Phil DiStefano's response to why Colorado has struggled to bring in transfers:
“I don’t think it is a matter of altering any of the rules and policies. I believe that you can have excellent academics and excellent student-athletes coming together. They are not mutually exclusive.
“On the transfer piece, it is just based upon the degrees we offer. And the way that faculty own the curriculum, they own the degrees so when a student wants to transfer, for example, we do not have physical education here, and we do not have general education, and to be honest, that’s not going to change.
“What we must do is go and recruit those student athletes coming from junior colleges who can play for us and can transfer in the credits. It may take a little bit more work, but I have confidence in our coaches to be able to do that. I mean we have brought in transfers and that has worked. And I think we will continue to bring in transfers, it is just the transfers must have the transfer credits that will transfer.”
Progress Toward Degree
From CU at the Game:
You will be hearing a great deal over the next two months about PTD – Progress Toward Degree. This is not a new term, and the rules have been in place for some time. The NCAA requires all student athletes, in order to retain their eligibility, make progress in the classroom:
Freshman (2 semesters) = 20% of degree completion (24 credits)
Sophomore (4 semesters) = 40% of degree completion (48 credits)
Junior (6 semesters) = 60% of degree completion (72 credits)
Senior (8 semesters) = 80% of degree completion (96 credits)
So far, so good. Not a problem for CU coaches and players, as this is an NCAA guideline everyone uses and lives with on an annual basis.
How CU loses out on potential transfers
As Phil DiStefano derisively noted, CU doesn’t have a PE or general studies degree. Most other schools, including most of the AAU schools CU likes to associate itself with, do have general studies and/or integrated studies degrees. As a result, transferring between those schools much easier easy, as they offer many of the same courses.
Simply put, CU doesn’t offer certain programs that are popular among student-athletes.
What that results in
…the percentage of non-graduate transfers who can successfully find their way through the CU admissions office is painfully low. Adam Munsterteiger of BuffStampede.com reported that CU coaches submitted a list of 11 wide receiver transfer candidates for academic appraisal this past offseason, only four came back with approval for CU with permission to recruit.
What can be done
The shortest distance between two points is to add an integrated studies degree, making it easier for credits to transfer. The only other Power Five schools with similar academic restrictions are Stanford and Vanderbilt. The Commodores have SEC money but still can’t regularly compete, while Stanford has fallen off of a cliff the past few seasons … do you think that’s because David Shaw forgot how to coach?
When Brian Howell asked Chancellor DiStefano about adding an integrated studies major, noting that Michigan – a respected AAU school – had such a program, DiStefano acted surprised, saying he would look into it.
DiStefano appears content on maintaining the current academic requirements and may even be handcuffed by the university in some regards. So for the time being, the Buffs may have their best luck with JUCO transfers, as was noted.
Another potential solution
A second option, which is used by other schools … give student-athletes a chance to “catch up”. Admit the student with the understanding that they don’t have all the requisite credits in their major, but are otherwise in good standing. Then give them a year (at some schools, two) to “catch up” with credits in their major.
Social media weighs in:
Has to be embarrassing for #cubuffs admins (@CUToddSaliman @RickGeorgeCU) when everyone in the know in the Pac-12 calls us out for getting lapped by WSU. Game plan is simple:
1. Fix transfer credits
2. Pay for a proven head coach
This should be easy folks. https://t.co/AHZ8ea6oN5
— Vic Victory (@col_rado) November 12, 2022
Everyone is fixated on who Rick George will hire as CU's next head football coach. Questions: have the internal issues regarding frosh and transfer portal admissions been fixed yet? Has a billionaire been located to fund NIL? No? Oh, okay…so the next guy is still screwed 🤦♂️
— GoBuffs (@GoBuffs3) November 12, 2022
Not just Ivy League, but grad transfers. Anyway, it's an unnecessary handicap to our athletic teams. One of the biggest things the CU administration can do to support athletics is to remove the disadvantage. Meanwhile, the AD needs to drive NIL cooperatives.
— buffnik (@buffnik) November 15, 2022
Transfer portal. CU has more strict requirements regarding progress toward degree than a lot of schools. Last summer CU coaches had 11 players lined up to transfer in, and only three had the proper academic progress. Meanwhile USC brings in 23 players. 1/2
— ELONgated MUSKrat (@bouldernative) November 14, 2022
Hopefully within about 3 weeks, Buff Nation should know who our NEW HEADCOACH WILL BE…….THIS NEEDS TO BE A TOTAL HOME RUN PLUS FIX ALL PROBLEMS WITH THE TRANSFER PROCESS SO CU CAN PLAY ON A LEVEL FIELD AS OTHER MAJOR COLLEGES. THIS IS A 100% MUST FIX.
— James Sisson (@JamesESisson1) November 14, 2022
Speaking for myself, I wasn’t familiar with our transfer portal restrictions when Mel brought in Alfano.
I believe a lot of other people were also unaware at that time.
Fans and donors are more informed now.
That’s why CU leadership is squarely in the spotlight now.
— Kelli Brooks (@KelliBrooks627) November 12, 2022
@CUToddSaliman We need to change the transfer rules. And please if you care about CU athletics like you say you do then you would get rid of DiStefano. Us fans are tired of being this bad for so long. We deserve better than this.
— 🦬 BuffsBacker 🦬 (@lilriles24) November 12, 2022
Heard progress is being made on the admissions rules that limit what CU can do in the transfer portal. But ultimately it will be up to Distefano.
Apparently CU was unable to recruit approx. 70% of of the players they had identified in the portal because of admissions barriers.
— Barstool Colorado (@CUBarstool) November 9, 2022
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