Monday, August 8, 2022

Lane Kiffin downplays Big Ten realignment, likens NIL to baseball payrolls in 2022 SEC Media Days appearance

Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin took a playful shot at the Big Ten during his statements at SEC Media Days on Monday in Atlanta. When asked about how Texas, Oklahoma, UCLA and USC will transition into their new leagues, Kiffin couldn’t help but draw a distinction between the two situations. 

“I mean, I just say how it is, I don’t know that there’s a huge jump into the Big Ten,” Kiffin said. “I think going to the SEC is a whole ‘nother animal. It’s a different world. Said it for a long time: the SEC just means more. And it does. It’s different, it’s ahead of the game.” 

Twelve of the last 16 national champions were from the SEC, with a 13th set to enter the league in Texas. The Big Ten has only produced one national champion in the College Football Playoff era: Ohio State in 2014. The 2002 Buckeyes also won the championship, but no other Big Ten team has won a title in the unified national championship era (since 1998). 

Additionally, Kiffin focused in on name, image and likeness during his time at the lectern. Kiffin was asked what works best in the NIL world of college football and was candid about what he believes is really driving things in the SEC. 

“It’s like a payroll in baseball,” Kiffin said. “What teams win over a long period of time? Teams that have high payrolls and can pay players a lot. We’re in a situation not any different than that. I said day one, you legalize cheating, so get ready for the people that have the most money to get players. Now you have it. It is what it is.” 

Kiffin made waves during an interview on National Signing Day with 247Sports by joking that Texas A&M and Texas deserved a “luxury tax” for how much money he alleges they threw at recruits in the 2022 signing class. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher fired back at Kiffin and Alabama coach Nick Saban for their assertions, but Kiffin is undeterred. 

“Ideally I would think that the coach should be part of managing [NIL],” Kiffin said. “That’s how you’d want it done. But I don’t know if it will be that way or whatever, so that’s just how I would do it. That’s based off of looking what happens in professional sports: there’s salary caps. The coach and the general manager manage that.” 

In addition to his comments about NIL, Kiffin was his naturally candid self when talking about how this offseason has been after leading Ole Miss to the first 10-win regular season in program history. 

“I have signed a lot of mustard bottles and golf balls, which normally I haven’t,” Kiffin said at the podium, referring back to a controversial win over Tennessee. “It’s been a unique offseason.” 

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