© 2024 WMKY
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Coach departures, NIL, and transfer portal concerns changing the game for Kentucky college sports programs


College athletics in Kentucky have seen major shake-ups recently with coaching departures. Those, coupled with NIL and transfer portal concerns, have left many fans wondering what college basketball and football programs will look like moving forward.

Kelly Wells is Morehead State University's Director of Athletics. He said despite the changing of the guard at schools across the state, he is confident strong teams can be built, so long as staff have the drive to do so.

“There’s no better time to make sure you’ve got a great culture, that you’ve got great leaders, you’ve got people who are coaching for the right reasons, kind of fit where you’re at, and that goes back to the recruiting piece. As coaches recruit and identify targets or people that they want at their universities, those are critical conversations to have upfront. Some coaches aren’t comfortable with having that conversation at all and move on to the next person. So, there’s going to be a lot of disappointment, I think, this coming year,” said Wells.

Wells said student-athletes entering the transfer portal could find themselves in a worse position than where they started and added that the option to transfer up isn’t always the right call to make.

“I don’t think that there’s any reason that teams can’t rebuild their programs if you lose student-athletes. I think there’s a retention piece that really needs to be concentrated on, but I’m also not naive to think that even when you have a great culture and you have great coaches and we’re doing all the right things, there’s a lot of influencers out there,” said Wells.

Wells said student-athletes can be influenced by name, image, and likeness deals, the ease of the transfer portal, and even the wishes of parents.

Wells said college sports programs need to evolve with the game. At Morehead State University, Jonathan Mattox was recently announced as the new head Basketball Coach. A meet-and-greet is scheduled for Thursday, April 18, at Johnson Arena.