I never thought I’d find myself siding with Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin, his recent remarks make a lot of sense.
I wasn’t a fan of how Kiffin abandoned Tennessee more than a decade ago and always considered him an Eddie Haskell type. But Kiffin is the perfect example of someone going after the bigger and better deal.
In the wake of the dust-up between Alabama’s Nick Saban and A&M’s Jimbo Fisher on the impact of name/image/likeness, where both, correctly, criticized the recruiting method commonplace in 2022, Kiffin chimed in, once he came down from the immense entertainment value from the spat.
Let’s face it, despite the whining, neither said anything wrong. Neither coach did anything wrong…in 2022. When the row was over, they were both reading from the same script.
NIL, in tandem with the transfer portal, is going to get out of control, if it isn’t already and somebody, whether it’s the NCAA, Congress, or college football itself, needs to rein it in.
This is where Kiffin added his currency by adding another dimension to it.
Kiffin wondered why Alabama quarterback Bryce Young didn’t enter the transfer portal. Young is an honorable guy, I’m told from people close to the Bama program and wouldn’t do that. But in the final analysis, these guys are capitalists and, like Kiffin over a decade ago, will seek greener pastures.
It would have been understandable had Young, like Pitt receiver Jordan Addison, tested the market. Addison will join Southern Cal next year.
You can bet your sweet caboose that this sort of thing is coming. Players will seek the bigger and better deal.
NIL by itself isn’t a bad thing. Neither is the transfer portal. But they both crashed collegiate athletics’ gate simultaneously and created a free-agency environment in college sports. But, with college athletes, there is no legal and binding contract that confines the athletes from seeking a better payday.
They could, conceivably, play for four different schools in four years.
And what if a booster ponies up a few million for a player who hasn’t figured out the playbook yet? Is a coach beholden to his athletics department and program or that booster?
There are a lot of unintended consequences associated with all of this and some contend it’s already out of control. The NCAA knew this was coming and did nothing about it, except cling to this dogmatic notion that college athletes always will be amateurs.
That ship has sailed.
And it left the dock almost as fast as Kiffin left Knoxville.
Editor’s note: Jim Steele is a correspondent for Magic Valley Publishing and the host of The Pressbox radio show, which airs 4-6 p.m CT Monday-Thursday on 95.9, WRJB FM, Camden, Tenn.