LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Utah State head coach Blake Anderson said this is “unlike anything I’ve been a part of in 30 years for me. It’s never been anything like this.”

Some 22 players have left the Utah State football team via the transfer portal, including 10 players who have started at least one game on defense. Anderson says this is just the new world of college football.

“This is what legislators have created,” he said after Saturday’s final spring practice. “It has happening all across the country. This is not a Logan problem, this is an NCAA football problem. And it’s not going to go back.”

Some players are looking for more playing time at other schools, but most of the transfers are following the money. With the ability to make money of their name, image and likeness, the Utes have established an NIL collective, where businesses can contribute money to lure athletes to Utah. Utah State, operating on a much smaller budget and in a much smaller town, doesn’t have anything like that.

“You’ve got a group of guys that feel like they’re marketable, have some leverage and can put their name out on the open market,” Anderson said. “They’re going to be able to find places to go and get paid to play. There are people that can go out and get three, five, ten thousand a month out of collective money. I would say most people here on town that have a job, if they could take the same job in another place and make 50 thousand dollars more, they’re going to look into it.”

So Anderson not only has to recruit incoming players, he also has to re-recruit his current players every year. Many of them do stay, like defensive lineman Hale Motu’apuaka.

“It’s always sad to see your brother leave, especially people you’ve been playing alongside with for a couple of years,” Motu’apuaka said. “I wish them all the best, but at the end of the day, who we’ve got in Aggie Nation is who we’ve got. We’re going to ride it to the end.”

“A bunch of guys have had the opportunity to leave and have been told the same thing,” Anderson added. “If you put your name in the portal, you can make money, and they chose to stay. So we’re going to celebrate those guys. I don’t know, maybe one day we’ll be in the NIL world as well. But right now, we don’t have a collective that is paying these guys.”

Anderson wants Aggie fans to know that this transfer issue is not particular to Utah State. It is a problem that pervades college football.

“Whatever the fans think, we do not have a culture problem,” he said. “This is a college football problem and we’re doing the best we can.”