Name Image Likeness (NIL) has taken the dirty secret of college football recruiting and AAU basketball and legitimized it. There is no need for fans to even be subtle about saying the team they hate the most paid for players. They did then, and they are for sure doing it now.
Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin is now saying it out loud, too.
“I don’t think people really say it this way, but let’s not make a mistake: We have free agency in college football,” Kiffin told the USAToday. “The kids a lot of times go to where they’re going to get paid the most. No one else is saying that, maybe. But the kids say ‘This is what I’m getting here from NIL.’ “
Folks, this has been happening (on some level) forever. It was usually the assistant coaches managing the payment. Or it could be going through members of boosters — like the Red Elephant Club.
But now it is a straight up talking point.
And the transfer portal is just another way to get paid.
It used to be harder.
The best story I had ever heard about it — now I don’t know if it is true, but I’ma retell it like it is — involved Cam Newton. He did not know it was so easy to get paid as a recruit and when he got to Florida and learned what all his teammates got he tried to get his… and it didn’t happen, because he was already there and a backup at the time. So when he got in trouble on campus and it was time to transfer he was going to get it on the second time around. He was a stud in JuCo and was shopping his services (with his dad) to get paid. He was down to Mississippi State and Auburn. He asked for a set price from Auburn, and that price plus a little more to go to State. He got it from Auburn. And the coaches at State leaked the information to the NCAA because they got pissed.
NOWADAYS, none of that has to happen.
They can just slap some NIL money on the table, have the kid do a few tweets about some local Dairy Queen and get paid.
Kiffin compared it unfavorably to the NFL.
“At least in the NFL there’s free agent contracts so they know what it is and they have to sign it, versus places saying, ‘Hey, when you come here you’re going to get this much money,’ and then when they get there, do they really get it?” Kiffin said. “It’s a new world.”
“Right now you’re practicing for bowl games. We had a player not here (Monday) because he’s still on his official visit to another place. Just really think about that. It’s very strange. I had a recruiting weekend this weekend where I had to fly out really quick to go see someone that’s at another school but is in the portal.”
There is a lot more in the USAToday story, if you wanna check it out, but the point of this post is to say…. no shit, Lane.
People have been paying for kids forever. Now they are doing it out in the open… and yes, they are going to go where they get the most money. Like they always have.