Jim Gazzolo column: Scott case shows both sides of portal door

Published 9:00 am Thursday, September 29, 2022

To some, Lindsey Scott Jr. is the perfect example of what is right with the NCAA transfer portal in college football.

The former top prospect has continued to get his advanced education while playing football at different universities though the years.

To them, Scott has made the most of his chances.

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Yet there are those who consider Scott’s journey all that is wrong with college athletics.

They find him a mercenary of sorts, jumping from program to program for personal gain with little loyalty.

“I’ve probably got a unique story,” Scott recently told NOLA.com. “But whenever I talk to anybody about it, the first thing I say is how thankful I am for the experience.

“If I could do it all again, I wouldn’t have done anything different.”

Scott’s journey began in 2015 when he was a top quarterback from Zachary. He started at LSU but that’s only where the real story begins.

Seven years and five schools later, Scott has found his final football home in San Antonio, where he has become a top gun nationally on the Football Championship Subdivision level.

On Saturday, Scott will take on rebuilding McNeese State as the leader of the 3-1 and 11th-ranked Incarnate Word. His numbers are off the charts.

Scott is second in the nation in passing yards per game (357.8) and total offense (376.8).

“He is a very talented player,” said McNeese head coach Gary Goff. “He is putting up some serious numbers for sure.”

Clearly Scott is making the most of his … fifth chance.

After LSU he went to a junior college and then Missouri, where he never played. Next up was a transfer to Nicholls State before ending up at Incarnate Word.

For those who are in favor of him and his story, it is great Scott represents the new way players have taken control of their futures. It seems fair after being given little options by a system that makes millions of dollars that the players are finally taking care of themselves.

Yet many see guys like Scott as selfish, jumping from team to team for personal gain while forgetting about such things as loyalty and fighting through tough times.

None of that matters of course to McNeese, which must find a way to slow down Scott to have any chance of pulling off an upset.

But it does make one wonder about the sport.

Scott, after all, is 24 years old. He is the same age or older than eight of the opening-day starting QBs in the NFL.

On Saturday he will come across a redshirt freshman from McNeese named Micah Davey who will spend his last day as an 18-year-old trying to chase down Scott.

College sports were never really designed to see such an age difference. Of course, that is not Scott’s fault for he is just using the system that has been grossly mishandled by the NCAA.

When last the Cowboys saw Scott they handled him so well he lost his starting job at Nicholls, thus leading him to Incarnate Word at the end of last fall.

So if the Cowboys lose to the quarterback this week, they kind of only have themselves to blame.

That’s a great example of just how strange college sports have become in the world of the transfer portal.

The only real positive out of all this is that Scott has been a solid student no matter what school he was at. He earn edhis BS in computer science and is working toward an MBA in sports management, so he’s not all about football.

He won a national championship while in junior college and says he hopes to finish his college days doing the same at UIW.

It would mean he had come full circle during a career that has seen its share of twists and turns.

Like his story or not, Scott’s is unique and he has shown future college players there are lots of different ways to go though college. He can serve as a role model to players wanting to take control of their own careers.

And maybe that’s the perfect ending to his story.

Jim Gazzolo is a freelance writer who covers McNeese State athletics for the American Press. Email him at