Adeline Nicholson is proof the new NCAA transfer portal works.
Nicholson’s name was entered into the portal, a national database designed to let athletes talk to other schools without restriction after first informing their current school of their desire to leave. It essentially can resemble a draft board for schools looking to recruit players.
In less than a month, the standout softball player and Southmoreland graduate had a bite on the line.
Nicholson committed to play at Morehead State, a Division I program in Kentucky, which found her on the portal. She is leaving D-II Slippery Rock after two years.
“I am so blessed to be given an opportunity to live out my childhood dream and can’t wait to see what Morehead, Kentucky, has in store for me,” Nicholson said.
When student-athletes say they are considering a transfer, schools must enter their name into the portal within two business days. Then, the current school cannot stop their athletes from talking to other schools.
Nicholson knew she wanted to depart Slippery Rock, where she played one season as a redshirt freshman. The transfer portal, now eight months old, allows prospective landing spots for athletes to contact them without current schools interfering.
From the athlete’s perspective, the rule change eliminated a clog in the pipeline, so to speak.
“I first visited Slippery Rock when I was 15 and committed at 16,” Nicholson said. “But once I got there, I realized it wasn’t the right place for me.”
Nicholson led the Rock (18-27) in numerous offensive categories, including on-base/slugging percentage (.858), home runs (six), RBIs (30) and slugging percentage (.508).
The first baseman played in 44 games. She sat out the previous season with an injury.
A former travel softball coach, Jenna Hudson, told Nicholson Morehead State was seeking transfers to boost a program that finished 3-42 this season.
“After visiting some other schools, I chose Morehead State because I loved the location and feel of the campus along with the way coach (Samantha) Jones runs things, so it was perfect,” she said. “Coach Jones is rebuilding Morehead’s program and making it her own. I am so grateful she chose me to help her and be a part of that.”
Nicholson immediately saw the positives in the portal. There are negatives that athletes around the country have encountered, such as pulled scholarships and their story becoming public knowledge with an automatic assumption they are unhappy and antsy to leave.
“Schools were able to contact me via email to express interest and invite me to visit,” Nicholson said. “The transfer portal also showed in print the restrictions regarding where I couldn’t transfer to which made it easy to steer clear of those schools.
“Playing Division I does have more perks than Division II, both financially and the fact that I will be playing against the best of the best, like I grew up doing. It will be different being almost five hours from home, but I feel like having two years of college under my belt already will help me with the adjustment.”
Morehead State also landed Mt. Pleasant senior pitcher Carolyn Alincic, who will join Nicholson next season. Alincic and her Vikings teammates will play James Buchanan in the PIAA Class 4A quarterfinals 5 p.m. Thursday at Mt. Aloysius.