Kalen DeBoer says NIL money has “changed a lot” the recruiting landscape. Is this a good thing? And can UW compete?
When Nick Saban speaks, the nation takes notice.
This week, when asked how name, image and likeness policies have impacted college football recruiting, the Alabama coach and seven-time national champion told the Associated Press“I don’t think what we’re doing now is a sustainable model.”
Indeed, the “NIL” laws – which were instituted on July 1, 2021 – were intended to allow college athletes to make a profit through autograph sales, sponsored social media posts, personal streaming channels, classes/training camps, speaking engagements, promotional appearances, personal merchandise, endorsement deals and more.
They were not intended to allow donors to buy recruits.
Specifically, the NCAA policy includes a “pledge to avoid payment for gambling and inappropriate inducements related to choosing to attend a particular school.”
But without effective enforcement, NIL payments have become an undeniably powerful recruiting tool.
“It creates a situation where you can basically buy players. You can do that by recruiting,” Saban said. “I mean, if that’s what we want college football to be, I don’t know.”
Last month, Athletic reported that an anonymous five-star recruit from the Class of 2023 had signed an NIL deal that could earn him more than $8 million by the end of his first year – in exchange for public appearances, social media promotions and Moreover.
For top-notch prospects — such as five-star Rainier Beach offensive lineman Josh Conerly Jr., who was widely expected to pick USC before committing to Oregon last week — NIL incentives can add up to a point. shift in the recruitment process.
So, in this landscape, how can Washington compete?
“From a year ago to where it is today, I’m sure there are a lot of things that we would never have imagined,” the football coach said on Friday. UW, Kalen DeBoer. “I’m sure that will also change over the next six to 12 months. We probably don’t know what it will be in a year.
“You have to adjust and keep staying the course and doing the right thing. The word “sustainable” is probably worth questioning: is it or not? It seems at the rate it’s going, I think at the current rate, there are a lot of places where it would be difficult (to compete). If you get it right and build a good base – in our case, what we have around us – it can be sustainable.
Particularly if your program is aided by a “NIL Collective” – donor-funded companies created to generate NIL offers for a university’s athletes – such as Montlake Futures (UW), Division Street (Oregon), Rising Spear (Florida State), Happy Valley Talent (Penn State), The Foundation Ohio (Ohio State), High Tide Traditions (Alabama) and many more.
“No matter what casual sports fans or coaches think student-athletes gain from rosters, they are 10X (undervalued),” Blake Lawrence, founder of marketing platform NIL Opendorse, told The Athletic last month. “While $2 million (a year) is crazy, $200,000 isn’t, but most people think they’re getting $20,000.”
When it comes to the recruiting landscape, USC coach Lincoln Riley lamented at the Los Angeles Times last week that NIL “completely changed” it. In every sense of the word, it’s different.
Similarly, DeBoer added that NIL “is part of almost every conversation (with rookies) in some form or way. It’s changed the landscape a lot. Hopefully we can get back to where our team and our current lineup is for intent, where they can build on it. I totally agree. You said the word sustainable. We need to make sure it can continue that way.”
There are also fears that particularly invested donors could soon influence the lists in even more significant ways. Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin told The Associated Press that “there are going to start to be potential issues from donors and collective groups saying they want the A player from their area. And the technical staff want player B.”
The hope, for many current coaches, is that regulations will emerge to remove NIL incentives from college football recruiting.
But once this door is open, it is difficult to close it.
“There was no doubt that it was going to seep into recruiting at some point,” Riley said. “I think anybody who cares about college football isn’t really happy with that because that wasn’t the intention; we all understand that. Many people expressed concern when NIL appeared that there had to be a plan for this, and instead we instituted NIL without any plan for this, which is why we are where we are.
“I’m sure at some point there will be a market correction, if you will, with recruiting. I hope there will be, because in a perfect world, they stay separate.
Still, when the subject of NIL is brought up by rookies, DeBoer said “we want to be at the forefront and we want to be aggressive in sharing with them that these opportunities exist here as well.”
For now, that’s all DeBoer can do.