Wednesday, May 25, 2022

College coaches, leaders share candid thoughts on future of NIL: ‘We all feel like there’s no rules’

The NCAA is expected to step in with an actual NIL policy, but is it too late?

Getty Images

Ten months into the name, image and likeness era, college athletics has become a runaway satellite hurtling toward the sun. It’s only a matter of time before someone or some program is going to get burned.

At least, that’s one side of the story. Some coaches say they’ve never had it tougher. Others are rolling with athletes’ newly found rights. On the field? You must admit, it has made little difference … for now.  

Again, that could all change because we are less than a year into NIL. June 30 marks a year since the NCAA’s interim policy (really, no policy) was released ahead of state NIL laws going into effect on July 1. College athletics being college athletics, rabbit holes were quickly dug. NIL benefits morphed into perceived inducements or “pay for play,” due in large part to the formation of collectives.

The NCAA has decided to step in, but will it be enough, and is it too late? At this point, we’re talking about the association finally deciding to try and enforce its own rules.

The difference? The opposition is no longer only compliance departments. It is NFL marketing agents — allowed by NIL — who would think nothing of filing antitrust lawsuits over lunchtime.

“Different creates uncertainty, and uncertainty creates doubt. I don’t see a lot of positives right now with the [transfer] portal and NIL stuff,” Kansas basketball coach Bill Self told CBS Sports.

Whether the NCAA can reign in the perceived excess or whether this is the way of college athletics going forward is yet to be the determined.

CBS Sports recently gave stakeholders a chance to offer suggestions for how they would right the ship when it comes to NIL. They shared way more than opinions. They shared stories from the trenches. They shared their outrage.  

Mostly, they gave definition to what it means to play at the highest level of college athletics these days.

CBS Sports offered college sports leaders the opportunity to share their thoughts on the record or anonymously. A handful of Power Five administrators, plus coaches spanning football and basketball, chose the latter option.

Good idea gone bad

  • “Certainly, the idea of NIL was not to recruit guys from other teams, induce them to come to their schools and pay them money or pay recruits on the front end, that’s not what this is about. But that’s what this has become.

    “I’m all for players making money off their name, image and likeness. But right now, it’s created a lot of unrest because we all feel like there’s no rules — or the rules that are there are not being enforced. It creates a lot of jealousy. If you do nothing, you’re going to fall behind. If you go extreme, you may put yourself out there to be vulnerable to sanctions down the road.” Ohio State football coach Ryan Day

  • “I still think the original concept of NIL is a good one. We have completely screwed it up by not being out front and not having parameters. … Nobody is on the same page. We’ve created this system now where we’re out of it. We’re completely on the outside.

    “Donors cutting deals with student-athletes. Probably in some instances you don’t even know about it until after it’s been cut. None of that, in my opinion, is good.” — Power Five AD

  • “Six years ago, when the cost of attendance [stipend] first started, we were taken aback when a kid asked, ‘What’s my monthly check?’ Now, we [have that] on steroids.” — Power Five football coach
  • “What about the development? What about the recruits? What about all the families that you’re selling [in recruiting prospects] that you bring in and develop? You’re throwing those [transfer] kids first in line after [players you recruited] put a lot of work in your program. That would not fly at our place.” — Power Five football coach

Wild, Wild West

  • “Mid-major coach had an agent call him. [He wanted] $200,000. ’48 hours or my guy is in the portal.’ This is a mid-major school.” — Power Five basketball coach
  • “Right now, it really is the Wild, Wild West. If you’re [Miami coach] Jim Larranaga, how are you trying to coach that team? With Isaiah Wong [whose NIL agent requested a new deal after Nigel Pack was paid more in NIL], you are really an NBA coach. You haven’t heard from Coach Larranaga. You haven’t from [AD Dan Radakovich], and you haven’t heard from the sport program administrator for men’s basketball. The only person you’ve heard from is [Miami booster and collective chief] John Ruiz and his agent.” — Power Five AD
  • “If you put together a reasonable package for a kid when he gets there, right now, most people would say the speed limit is 30 and you’re going 40. But to call someone else and pay $2 million for a kid to leave that campus, that’s like going 150 miles an hour. Until they start enforcing the speed limit, there’s no cops on the road.” — Power Five football coach
  • “They’re boosters. Where did it go off the tracks? The collectives are boosters. The guidance is you’re in violation of the rules.” West Virginia AD Shane Lyons, chairman of the NCAA Council 

Best of a bad situation

  • “First of all, I think it’s [NIL] wonderful. I took out all the [student] loans, I didn’t have any income coming from home. I paid those back until I was 38 years old. I know the value of [players] having money in their pocket. Players deserve that.” Oklahoma football coach Brent Venables
  • “I’m a fan of NIL. What’s going on with players being able to use NIL to their benefit, I understand it. Xavier Worthy was a heck of a player. … Of course people are going to try to use NIL to entice him to go to those schools. Xavier and I have a great relationship. I was recruiting him for eight years prior to him even going to college. We’ve got a really special bond. …

    “Everyone thinks it’s all about money right now. Relationships still matter. I pride myself on being a relationship-based coach. I know dollars matter, too. I’m not naïve to that. But player development, connection to the players, knowing you’re supporting them in every aspect of their lives still matters.” Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian

Future of NIL

  • “The legal advice that the NCAA got was [limiting NIL] would spawn lawsuits. They chose not to take that risk. By not taking that risk, you just leave the members floundering. To some extent, the athletes who are trying to do it the right way are floundering, too. …

    “Last fall, we had NIL and the competition on the field looked just about like it did before. Does it make life more complicated for coaches and athletic administrators? Of course it does. When it comes to playing on Saturday, I don’t know if any fan in the stands or viewer at home [cares].” — Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby

  • “There’s got to be some way this thing can get back within the guardrails. The NCAA is obviously nervous about putting limitations on people. It’s not all the NCAA. The reality of it is, it’s a whole different world out there. There’s opportunity for third parties to interject themselves into our world more than there ever has been. I don’t know if we’re going to get our arms around it. The more you get your arms around it, the more it changes shapes.” — Self
  • “It cannot, and I’m confident, it will not go on forever [in this form]. Now it’s starting to impact too many athletics, coaches and institutions.” — Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren
  • “Let’s be candid. That’s where this game is headed. If that’s the way things are going, we’ve got to adapt to the times. The old adage, ‘You adapt or you die.”” — Sarkisian
  • “You hope [help is coming] sooner than later. If not, the bandits win.” — Power Five football coach

Related articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share article

Latest articles


Subscribe to stay updated.