Is there a solution to College Football's NIL debacle

May 15, 2022 - 7pm PST

Since the initiation of the NCAA NIL or better known as paying players for their "name, image, and likeness" came into effect there have been rumors of fraud and controversies across the nation. The whole situation seems to have flipped college football on its head. It's a true power shift in the world of sports as a whole, but is it too much? In some cases you even have some players making more money than members of the coaching staff as stated by Jackson State head coach Deon Sanders. Head coach of Georgia Kirby Smart recently said on the "Paul Finebaum Show" that the problem more lies with players disgruntled at other programs reaching out to larger schools and those coaches making the decision to talk to those young men. His concern is more with the resiliency of players in the face of controversy or when times get tough stating; "I don't believe there's as much tampering as people think," Smart said. "There are kids who grow up thinking 'if it doesn't work out here, I should go somewhere else.' Tampering comes from the player searching somewhere else, not from a coach reaching out. Look, I've had kids reach out to me from other programs and call and say things, and you can't talk to them. I know it happens from our place out and from other places. I don't worry as much about tampering as I do about: are we doing the right thing for the kids when they have adversity or things are tough?" Kirby Smart's Georgia Bulldogs have both benefitted from the transfer portal and been the victim of it. Ex-Clemson Tiger defensive back Derion Kendrick transferred to Georgia last year, however Bulldog wide receiver Jermaine Burton transferred to Alabama shortly after their win over the Crimson Tide in the National Championship.

Tampering is the biggest concern amongst college athletics, when boosters and local businesses get involved it tends to muddy the waters. We may be over 30 years removed from when SMU received the "death penalty" from the NCAA but were not far from it. SMU was caught for tampering with players and offering luxurious cars, homes, women, jewelry, and much more. SMU would have their football program temporarily suspended as a result of a NCAA investigation of misconduct. This practice is now being allowed today through the NIL and transfer portal. Boosters from across the land can back their schools with hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars giving a vast advantage to their program.

This brings us back to Jackson State head coach Deon Sanders who made a statement via twitter this week "The NCAA has a problem." Sanders makes the valid point that smaller schools especially HBCU and lower level schools cannot compete with the deep pockets of Alabama, Texas A & M, and Georgia. What Sanders fails to mention is how the Jaguars benefitted from the transfer portal in 2022 by prying the number one defensive back prospect Travis Hunter from Florida State. This came coincidentally after Hunter signed a $1.5 Million dollar deal with Barstool Sports, who Deon Sanders had dealings with prior to coaching at Jackson State. Despite the hypocritical nature of the comment, Sanders makes a valid point. With all this power given to the players, how much is too much? Especially when the source of the power is still the infinity gauntlet wielding boosters that exist at almost every major D1 university in America. If a private company like GT Marketing can sign the #1 high school recruit in the country Quinn Ewers to a $1.4 Million dollar deal to leave school early and enroll at Ohio State, the likes of any smaller schools can never compete with that. On top of that these smaller schools have to worry about the "transfer portal" every summer with guys feeling they can get paid more and play more somewhere else or are just un-happy with their situation. All and all the NIL and college transfer portal is a huge mess, and the NCAA may be in huge trouble if they can't step in and make changes to preserve the sport and not let it stumble back to the stone ages.

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