Brand Tips for Entering the Transfer Portal

If you’ve been watching the news, you know that the NCAA transfer portal is one of today’s hottest topics. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been contacted by student-athletes and caregivers asking how athletes can successfully position themselves online and in-person before and after they’ve decided to enter the portal. 

To fully answer that question, I went directly to the source—DI football, basketball, baseball, and volleyball head and assistant coaches—to find out precisely what catches their eye. Below is a synopsis of those conversations. 

Make it Easy

Making sure your social media accounts are easy to identify and contain complete information is the best way to help yourself transfer. Before entering the portal, be sure to update your Twitter and Instagram bios to include:

  • Photo of you (Using the same image from your current program’s website is a huge help) 
  • First and last name
  • Current playing stats
  • Current GPA
  • Phone number (Don’t assume coaches will DM)
  • Link to your highlights 

A Well-Crafted Goodbye

What an athlete says in their farewell letter or post speaks volumes about their character and how they’ll contribute to their next opportunity. In this message, athletes should establish their brand, share their accomplishments, and show respect to their previous program. Most importantly, athletes need to be mindful of spelling and grammar. Don’t go overboard with cool graphics or striking images—what you’re saying matters most. Finally, it’s on the internet, so remember that what you post lasts forever. 

Third-Party Endorsements 

All coaches interviewed agreed that supportive posts from coaches, parents, fans, etc., won’t help you out of the portal. But negative posts about you and negative engagement on your part can hurt you. Before entering the portal, conduct a social media audit to ensure that anything negative you’ve posted or responded to is no longer visible. 

Have a Response Ready 

Eventually, the athlete will have to explain why they’re transferring to coaches, media, etc. Regardless of the reason, athletes should take the time to think through their response. Practicing their statement in front of a supportive audience is also a good idea. Remember, coaches are looking for character and cultural fit as much as they’re looking for athletic ability, so choose your words wisely. 

If you’re a student-athlete or caregiver and have additional questions, feel free to email me directly at Frances@YourFirestarter.com.

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