In this week’s installment of “What the Hell is Happening to USC Athletics?”: the transfer portal. This week, almost half of USC’s women’s basketball team entered the transfer portal. Six of the 13-person roster are at least considering — if not set on — leaving Galen Center. Granted, there are two graduate transfers in that group of players, but a daunting statistic nonetheless.
I’m not going to pretend I follow collegiate basketball. However, I do know that the women considering jumping ship are some of USC’s best ballers.
Senior guard Minyon Moore, one of the graduate transfers who announced she will be transferring, led the Trojans in points, free throws, rebounds, assists and steals this past season. Senior forward Ja’Tavia Tapley also plans to transfer. She posted the second most blocks and rebounds during the 2018-19 season.
But this issue isn’t unique to women’s basketball. Rather, it is evidence of a larger issue that has been perpetuated over the past year. Student-athletes keep transferring out of USC.
You don’t need to look far to see that this is a major problem with USC football. News of players transferring has been dominating the USC football headlines for the past several months. But some might argue that players transfer all the time. However, a significant portion of the players entering the portal aren’t third string; they are the starters and the impact players USC needs.
Some of the most notable are redshirt junior receivers Velus Jones Jr. and Trevon Sidney. Jones posted a solid 10.4 yards per reception in 2018. He was a fantastic addition to USC’s receiving core last year. Sidney, on the other hand, didn’t have a whole lot of targets but showed great potential. It’s also important to note that Sidney was left off the spring roster. Jones is listed. Under offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s air-raid offense, both receivers have the potential to be key players for USC next season, if they decide to stay.
How could anyone forget about one of the most interesting and jaw-dropping transfers of this spring? Incoming receiver Bru McCoy enrolled at USC early. It seemed like he was all in, ready to join receiving leaders senior Michael Pittman Jr. and sophomore Amon-Ra St. Brown to terrorize secondaries. Then, out of nowhere, he entered the transfer portal and became a Texas Longhorn just days later.
Those two potential transfers are just drops of water in the ocean of players that continue to enter the transfer portal. For most in the portal, their intentions are not clear. Perhaps, they are just keeping their options open this spring.
For most players, the reasoning behind this wave of potential transfers is not clear. When McCoy decided to transfer, I wrote in a previous column, “Five-star receivers want to go to a university to do a few things: win football games, get better under great coaches and get noticed by professional scouts. Right now, USC offers only one of those three things and it isn’t the first two.”
Some of my past thoughts hold validity. At least USC has an offensive coordinator now, but if I had to assume the reasoning behind this ordeal, players are unhappier with the athletic department than they are concerned with winning. Considering either the coaching staff or the administration, can you blame them? It’s a mess, and there is a whole lot to be upset about right now.
USC Athletics needs to make some serious changes soon to retain players. For players to leave USC at such a rapid rate from multiple sports is not a good look for recruits of any sport. After all, when the players leave, the recruits stop coming.
Sam Arslanian is a sophomore writing about sports. His column, “Extra Innings,” runs Fridays.