UConn's Geno Auriemma on NCAA transfer portal: 'It's a mess'

UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma criticized the NCAA transfer portal for being a "mess."

"It was gonna be a mess from the beginning, and it's a mess now, and it's going to be a bigger mess each and every year," Auriemma said Wednesday morning via Zoom. "A lot of these kids are delusional. You know, they have so many voices in their ear."

Auriemma said he was told that about 1,000 athletes are in the portal and an estimated 200 had not been contacted by anybody and wouldn't be going back to their original schools.

"The transfer portal is great for, you know, a kid who knows where they're going, which means they were thinking about it a while back, who has a place ready for them, a spot ready for them," Auriemma said.

The number of players in the transfer portal is a sign of a bigger problem, Auriemma said.

"There's something wrong with the recruiting system, there's something wrong with the culture of college basketball today, there's something wrong with the entitlement that happens to exist today," he said.

"And there's something wrong with this idea of, you know, student-athlete welfare, that everything should be done to accommodate the student-athlete, with no regard whatsoever to the coaches who work their ass off, to recruit these kids in the first place, work with them, help them get better, make them the player that they are. And then they up and leave with no consequences whatsoever."

Auriemma then gave a scenario in which the roles were reversed.

"If we, as coaches, just call a kid in and say, 'Look, you know, I thought you'd be a lot better than this. So I'm taking away your scholarship,' we will get crucified," he said. "But yet a kid can just up and leave for no reason whatsoever. Other than, 'I just don't want to be here anymore. I don't like it here anymore.' OK. So, yeah, there's a time when it's absolutely positively appropriate for a kid to have to make a change. Believe me, I've been on both sides of where kids have left here. And where kids have come in. I've been on both sides.

"And, you know, every time that we're in this situation, I always ask the kid, 'What's wrong with you?' That's my first question. Whenever a kid wants to transfer, I say, 'What's wrong with you? You're at a great place, you're starting, you're playing a lot of minutes. You seem to be, you know, really successful. So there's got to be something wrong with you.' And then when they answer me, if I liked their answer, then I go forward. If I don't like their answer, then I say I'm not interested.

"But 1,000 kids? 1,000, it's unbelievable. And now, it's, you know, with the one-time transfer, not having to sit out. Don't get me wrong, I don't disagree. I think it's great. But there's got to be something wrong with the culture if it's this bad. On both ends -- on the kids', and then the coaches' -- there's got to be something wrong."

The Huskies had two players transfer after the 2020-21 season. On April 6, UConn announced that sophomore guard Anna Makurat, who played in 48 games in two seasons at UConn and averaged 6.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, would transfer.

Twenty days later, the school announced that freshman guard Autumn Chassion, a walk-on who appeared in eight games and scored eight points, would also be transferring.

UConn added Ohio State forward Dorka Juhasz via transfer on April 12. Juhasz was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and earned second-team All-Big Ten and All-Freshman Team honors in 2018-19 for the Buckeyes. She was second on the team with 14.6 points and led the team with 11.1 rebounds per game.