Brent Venables Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders' use of the transfer portal to overhaul Colorado's roster this offseason was unprecedented, with more than 50 scholarship players leaving since the Buffaloes named Sanders coach in December 2022. It's also been met with mixed reviews, and second-year Oklahoma coach Brent Venables is the latest to take exception with Sanders' flashy approach to roster building. 

Venables, in a Big 12 Media Days interview with KREF 94.7 FM, wasn't afraid to contrast Sanders' approach with the "12 months of grace" he gave Oklahoma players in his 2022 debut. The Sooners stumbled to a 6-7 finish, their first losing season since 1998, before 21 players transferred in the offseason. But Venables didn't seem to have any regrets with the way he handled business. 

"I gave guys 12 months of grace. I was unlike Deion," Venables told the station. "I gave guys 12 months of grace to figure it out. Here's three: Go to class, live right off the field, and when you show up here you show up with respect and appreciation with your opportunity. And if you go 0-for-3 for 12 months, you need a fresh start, so we helped 21 guys, give or take, find a fresh start."

That wasn't an isolated instance of Venables calling out Sanders' tactics, either. In a separate Big 12 Media Days interview with student-run OUNightlySports, Venables said he will keep the same approach at Oklahoma for the 2023 season, though not without contending that Sanders effectively gave "pink slips" to the Colorado players from 2022 who left to play elsewhere.  

"We're another year in establishing our standards and our culture and our values," Venables said. "That matters. A year ago, I challenged the guys. I wasn't like Deion that gave guys a bunch of pink slips." 

While it remains to be seen if Sanders' method will bear fruit during the 2023 season, the Buffaloes are set to have an entirely different caliber of talent at their disposal in 2023 compared to previous years. Sanders, this offseason, brought in the No. 1 transfer portal class, according to the 247Sports rankings. It includes Travis Hunter, who followed Sanders to Colorado this offseason after signing with Jackson State as the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2022 class. 

Sanders has defended himself more than once in that process. As recently as June, he told Fox Sports' Joel Klatt that "what I am doing is no different than any CEO." His overhaul is set to be a topic of conversation yet again when Pac-12 Media Day is held Friday, July 21, in Las Vegas.