Lane Kiffin says the right things, raises the right questions about NIL

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Former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin has spent his entire career following his two-year stint in Oakland at the college level. And the game at the college level has changed dramatically since last July, thanks to name, image, and likeness money.

At a time when some SEC coaches (like Nick Saban) have chosen to whine about the new NIL reality, Kiffin is pragmatic.

“I’m sure other people have said it,” Kiffin said Tuesday, “I said it day one, you legalized cheating, so get ready for the people that have the most money to get the best players and there you have it.”

He’s right. Boosters who used to slip hundred-dollar bills into the palms of players can now just give it to them. Schools have set up funds that distribute cash to all players, like a salary.

However it goes, those that can give the most money will be in position to get the best players. And those schools will be the most valuable to the super conferences like the SEC and the Big 10-going-on-40.

“This was not thought out at all,” Kiffin said, “and has created a massive set of issues, which I think when most people thought about it from a coaches’ standpoint, could’ve predicted this was gonna happen.”

Kiffin also is concerned about the fact that the boosters who pay for certain players to come to a given school will want those players to play, even if they’re not the best option. That will result in some boosters making their concerns known directly to the coaches, lobbying for the NIL investment to have a chance to generate a return — or at least to justify the payments that were made.

That’s how it will go. That’s just how it is. It’s chaos. And it’s the chaos that college football deserves, given that the industry spent so many years not only refusing to pay players directly but also refusing to let them make anything on the side. Decades of exploitation have exploded in their faces, and this messy reckoning is long overdue.

15 responses to “Lane Kiffin says the right things, raises the right questions about NIL

  1. The teams that paid the most before NIL always got the best players as well. NIL just allows teams that played by the rules before an equal opportunity now.

  2. I stopped paying attention to college football years ago. Looks like that will never change. It’s no less corrupt than the mafia. Not to mention it’s boring. I wish the NFL would just start a developmental league so the best high school players could just go there, get paid and get prepared to be NFL players. Young coaches and officials could learn there to. But, I’m not holding my breath.

  3. He can say all that because he will be coaching the Carolina Panthers next season.

  4. The best thing they can do is form leagues, centralize control, and establish a set of rules everyone follows. Now where we can we find an example of a league to emulate?….

  5. None of this would even be in play today had the NCAA done the right thing 30 years ago and established an equal payment system for all players, regardless which school they play for.

  6. Who are these people that just hand over money to college football players? What is in it for them? I don’t understand why you would want to be a booster handing money over that only help the school in a meaningless game.

  7. Uh, people were always cheating and paying players. Kiffin is just mad because the teams he’s working for will no longer be the ONLY ones who can afford to pay players.

  8. Everybody who predicted that Lane Kiffin would become the voice of reason regarding NIL raise your hand.

  9. The problem is if the booster’s $ goes to the players, there is less for the college and coaches. Nothing personal. Its just business.

  10. Don’t ruin college football. If you change anything in life, it should be a change for the better. Let’s look back in 10 years and see if college football is better. It’s easy to mess things up. The great ones are the ones that make things better.

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