Wyoming AD: ‘Transfer Portal is a Part of Our Life For Eternity’
LARAMIE -- Here we go again.
Admit it, you uttered that exact phrase today when you saw three Wyoming players -- all starters -- toss their names into the NCAA Transfer Portal. Cam Stone, Oluwaseyi Omotosho and Joshua Cobbs all announced their intentions Monday to leave the program.
This news comes exactly one week after starting running back Titus Swen was dismissed from the team for a "violation of team rules." The junior, who like the three above is a Texas native, will also transfer for his final season of eligibility.
This all comes on the heels of a mass exodus last December that saw 15 Cowboys enter the portal after the team's bowl victory in Boise.
UW lost both quarterbacks, Sean Chambers and Levi Williams, the school's second all-time leading rusher, Xazavian Valladay and leading receiver Isaiah Neyor. Both cornerbacks -- Azizi Hearn and CJ Coldon -- bolted to the Power 5. So did defensive end Solomon Byrd, nickel Keyon Blankenbaker and edge rusher Jaylen Pate. Other notable players, Victor Jones, Ravontae Holt and Rome Weber, among others, also left Laramie.
Some of those guys already graduated from UW. Some of them didn't see eye to eye with head coach Craig Bohl. Some needed a change of scenery.
All are now elsewhere.
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Wyoming Athletics Director Tom Burman spoke to the media Monday, just short of 24 hours after it was announced the Cowboys will take on Ohio in the Arizona Bowl at the end of the month in Tucson.
Yes, Burman is excited for the opportunity, but the narrative quickly shifted to the ever-changing college football landscape the portal has created.
"We're just adjusting and trying to figure out how we improve our retention, but understanding that it'll never stop," he said. "I mean, the transfer portal is a part of our life for eternity."
How can this program begin to keep players for the long term?
"If you look at the majority of the young men that have left us -- since the transfer portal became a reality -- most of them are out-of-the-region kids. Not all of them, but most of them," Burman added. "So we just have to take a deep dive into the kids we recruit. Are they likely to stay? If they're not likely, are they going to be ready to play immediately so they can help us quickly?
"At the end of the day, we want kids to be able to play and kind of move through it, be successful here and get a degree, but that doesn't always happen anymore."
Have the new NIL rules, the ability to pay student-athletes for their name, image and likeness, caused players to bolt?
Not in Laramie, Burman said.
"NIL, I think, has a small impact on it, but not at our place," he said. "These kids aren't leaving due to money issues. Most of them aren't going somewhere else to get paid significantly more than what they're getting at the University of Wyoming."
Starting quarterback Andrew Peasley has gone through this transfer process himself. After spending four years at Utah State -- and graduating -- the junior said things didn't turn out the way he wanted.
The Aggies returned signal caller Logan Bonner, who last season helped lead the team to a Mountain West title. He didn't play in the LA Bowl because of an injury. Freshman Cooper Legas, not Peasley, stepped in and tossed two touchdowns in a 24-13 victory over Oregon State.
"I needed a different opportunity," Peasley said. "So, I came here as a grad transfer. And, you know, I was lucky enough to find (a new program). I don't know if the transfer portal is going to ruin college football or make it better, but I think it's hard for players to find a perfect spot, in my opinion."
Peasley was asked if today's announcements serve as a disappointment in the locker room. His response was quick and precise.
"No, it's not actually," he said. "You know, we just had lifts in there and everyone was dapping each other up, giving hugs and wishing each other the best. I got to talk to a few guys and, yeah, it's all love. It's not, you know, you leave, we don't like you anymore. It's not like that.
"They have to find their best opportunity and what they think is best for them and move on from there."
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