UK Football

Alabama Coach Nick Saban: Transfer waivers have gotten ‘very liberal’

Questions about the transfer portal have been frequent at SEC Media Days, and Alabama head coach Nick Saban was the latest to chime in.

Saban, a supporter of the transfer portal, believes that the NCAA has grown “very liberal” in its granting of waivers that allow for players — who when transferring to another Division I school would normally have to sit out for a year — to gain immediate eligibility at their new destination.

“I think the spirit of the transfer portal in and of itself is a positive thing for players,” Saban said Wednesday. ‘You know, I think when we started with the transfer portal, it was a mechanism for players to be able to say, ‘I’m transferring, so everybody knows that I’m transferring, so if that creates opportunities for me to go different places,’ then that’s a good thing for the player.

“The issue with the transfer portal is we’ve gotten very liberal in giving people waivers, so, when we do that, it becomes free agency, which I don’t think is good for college football. I don’t think it’s good for fans.”

Saban advocated for a transfer protocol that does not allow for waivers. If you transfer as an undergraduate, you sit out a year — period.

“Everybody’s expectation is I can transfer and get a waiver. And I don’t think that’s a good thing,” Saban said. “So, we make commitments to players for four years. They make commitments to us to be in our program. It may not work out for everybody and they may have a better opportunity someplace else, but if they have to sit out for a year, it would be a consequence for them in terms of their commitment.”

The NCAA in June voted on changes to its guidelines regarding transfer waivers that aim to tighten how they’re applied going forward.

Kentucky’s football program grew familiar with the transfer portal over the past year. Two quarterbacks — Danny Clark and Gunnar Hoak — entered it and left the school; Clark ended up at a junior college, Hoak at Ohio State.

Xavier Peters, a former four-star recruit who transferred from Florida State, entered the portal and landed at UK, whom he was at one time committed to while in high school. Peters will have to sit out a season unless he is granted a waiver.

Josh Moore is in his first year covering the University of Kentucky football team and in his fifth year reporting for the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he’s been employed since 2009. Moore, a Martin County native, graduated from UK with a B.A. in Integrated Strategic Communication and English in 2013. He’s a huge fan of the NBA, Power Rangers and country music.