The NCAA transfer portal is always the topic of conversation in college volleyball. The impact of transfers can’t overstated, nor the free agency that exists in the game.

But the situation at Ohio State last week was a stunner. All-American setter Mac Podraza, All-American libero Kylie Murr, and both outsides, Gabby Gonzalez and Jenaisya Moore, all entered the portal. All four are seniors who have played four seasons and, because of the COVID waiver, have one more to use if they want to.

Ohio State’s Mac Podraza digs during the NCAA regional in Austin/Matt Smith photo

Ohio State, which lost in the regional final to eventual NCAA champion Texas, not only  tied for third in the Big Ten this season, the Buckeyes finished the season No. 7 in the NCAA RPI. Podraza, the 6-foot-2 product of Sunbury, Ohio, was the B1G setter of the year. Murr the defensive player of the year and Gonzalez made the all-conference second team.

Podraza, for one, said what she was hearing people say about the entire situation was wrong and wanted to tell her side of it. So did her third-year coach, Jen Flynn Oldenburg, who was caught, let’s say, between an overinflated volleyball and a hard place:


  1. Thanks for quieting all the naysayers! Kudos to Jen for honoring the scholarships of incoming freshman over a seasoned group that could have gone far next year. Will be watching & cheering for Max & OSU!

  2. As a parent of two high school volleyball athletes when covid hit, I am so angered that NCAA granted a covid year to current college athletes. My daughters recruiting efforts were crushed. These graduates who got multiple degrees and still transferring and taking up spots because they are so experienced are still taking away opportunities for those athletes after them. I applaud Jen for staying true to her Freshman but other programs will be picking up the graduate students. Everyone lost that year because of covid except those athletes, they got it back and nobody else did. My daughters didn’t get their high school years back and now they are not getting their college opportunities either. It makes me sad and angry for them.

    • I understand your frustration, but I do have a counter – how would you feel if your daughters were freshmen or sophomores in college when COVID hit. Would you still feel the same way? I just don’t think there is an easy solution here.

      • Those freshman/sophomore college players didn’t lose their proper season, because the college real season is in the fall. However, the high school players lost their club seasons, which is what a lot of them count on for being recruited.

      • My daughter was a HS senior in 2020/2021. Of all of the classes that got screwed during Covid, the class of 2021 had it the worst. It all started the 2nd half of their Jr year…no Jr. Prom, and virtual school the rest of the year. Then they had virtual school their entire senior year. No senior HOCO, Prom was a joke, and graduation was 2 ceremonies…half their class in each! Their volleyball season wasn’t what it normally was as they didn’t get to travel to Florida for an annual varsity tournament that every class has gone to the previous 15 years – something they look forward to from the day they make the freshman team – and 1 day before the playoffs began, a girl on the team tested positive and the entire team had to quarantine and miss the playoffs and a chance at winning a state championship. We were ranked 3rd in the largest class in the state and had beaten #1 and #2 earlier so it’s safe to say we had a chance. NONE of those senior girls got an extra year of HS — they were just out of luck!! And it sucked!! My daughter cried for days!! At Home!! Quarantined in her bedroom! So no, there is no easy solution here…but the NCAA made the wrong choice by allowing all of these athletes to get an extra year of eligibility. It further screwed the athletes of HS Class of 2021. The college athletes not only gained an additional year of eligibility, in many cases they got an additional year of college scholarship further taking away spots from incoming freshmen! The NCAA should have simply said that sometimes in life, circumstances don’t go your way. That’s what the HS kids had to learn…

        • It became evident when the NCAA made its decision that the juniors and seniors in HS at the time were then going to have to compete with the juniors and seniors in college for the same scholarships. That was unfortunate and remains so. I would assume there was a trickle down for scholarships and HS players who were good enough ended up with programs they weren’t initially expecting to join. But the records are certainly now flawed and opportunities were created and denied by the entire situation. Most college coaches think next year will be the last year of this, but I think the chaos and free agency is here to stay. I appreciate all the comments and what everyone — the players, parents and coaches — have endured the past few years.

    • Grow up!!! If your kids couldn’t compete for a spot the maybe they don’t belong at that level. Maybe a participation medal is in order.

      Coach made a horrible decision! You think every other player on this team now or in the future won’t consider entering the portal vs losing their scholarships!!!! No loyalty! Those players didn’t do anything wrong and had a opportunity to play another year. They could have left through the portal, but were all loyal. Kinda pathetic!!!

      Don’t expect any loyalty going forward coach Einstein!!!

    • Tho I’m not invested in it like you I still feel your pain. My wife and I watch volleyball nonstop and have always commented on what a shame it is for the girls behind these covid groups of girls. It’s screwed up everything more than people realize. Anyway you aren’t alone in feeling this way. I hope things work out for your kids. It’s an ugly situation.

  3. RJ,

    What’s the counter? The majority of these college players continued to have a season and STILL were granted an extra year of eligibility! They are allowed to continue to “break records” by adding to their stats in their 5 yrs for what most will only have 4 yrs to do. Absolutely worst/knee jerk decision by the NCAA. It will take until the class of 2025 for the BS Covid year to balance out. As the original poster said, absolutely crushing for high school athletes!


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