It seems like many big-name college football head coaches still aren’t a fan of the NIL system, as college athletes have been able to make money off of their name, image and likeness for the past two years.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban, LSU head coach Brian Kelly and Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin have been vocally against NIL and have been pushing for more ways to regulate the system. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, along with the other head coaches mentioned, went to Washington, D.C., to make a case for the government to step in to regulate how college athletes can earn money off NIL.

Kelly also stated back in June that college athletics are “in jeopardy” and at a crossroads if NIL “doesn’t get fixed.”

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said he is more against the “professionalization of college athletics” and “anything that devalues education.” He also had a one-liner that went viral in 2022, saying, “We built this program in God’s name, image, and likeness” when talking about the Tigers football program.


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Kiffin, like Sweeney, is also against the “pay-for-play” phrase that best describes NIL for many, as the college athletes that are offered the most money often go to those schools or are paid off of fame and image with sponsors and partnerships.

“When this first came out, basically said, whatever programs have the most aggressive boosters with the most money are going to get the players,” Kiffin said at SEC Media Days on Thursday. “And now we are adding some states that you don’t have to follow the NCAA, and now the university can take their money and give it to the collective to give it to the players.”

“This is a disaster coming because you just legalized cheating, and you just told donors they can pay the players is what you did.”

LSU’s Olivia Dunne and Miami’s Cavinder twins, Haley Cavinder and Hanna Cavinder, are extreme examples of the latter, as they net around seven-figure salaries on looks.

“Now we are seeing you really can get paid three times if you want to,” Kiffin said. “You can get paid coming out of high school. You can one-time transfer, go in, get the most money, and get paid again. And then you can grad transfer and then get paid again. Eventually, you’ll not be able to do that, I would think and have that leverage every semester to be able to do that. I’ve told them it’s an awesome time for them.”

College coaches, including Kiffin, know that players are taking every advantage of the system understandably with the negotiation periods while they are still in college.

“With NIL, you’ve got a lot of pay-for-play going on, and that is what it is,” Kiffin said. “Those two things combining, there’s not a system in place. I don’t think there are any other sports at any level that are like this, that, you every year, can opt into free agency. Twice a year.”

Last year, Kiffin shared a Fox News Digital story on Twitter about Saban reportedly letting a top recruit plus one of his players go after they asked for more than $1 million combined from the school.

“Someone with one of the best corners in the nation [in high school] came to me and asked if we’d pay them $800,000 for the player to sign here. I told him he can find another place to play,” Saban said, according to Baker High School coach Steve Normand. “I’m not paying a kid a bunch of NIL money before he earns it.”

“One of them wanted $500,000 and for us to get his girlfriend into law school at Alabama and pay for it. I showed him the door,” Saban reportedly said before the start of last season.

Many coaches agree with Kiffin and Saban, as the Alabama head coach does support the concept but is not fond of the deals, mentioning he feels the NCAA “needs more ways and means to control it because it’s getting out of hand.”

“I think a couple of things are of concern,” Saban said last August. “We allow alumni through collectives to get involved in recruiting and other things. That’s always something we’ve always guarded against in college football. I think what kind of competitive balance are we able to create if we allow that to happen, which is not going to be great for fans.”

It seems for now, college programs and coaches will have to be patient in how to handle the players and their potential NIL deals, as the answers are still few and far between with future legislation.

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