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OPINION | WALLY HALL: NIL, expansion hogging all the headlines

by Wally Hall | July 8, 2022 at 2:14 a.m.

It was an eye-opening headline on the sports page of your newspaper.

"NIL money estimated at $917M"

In its first year of existence, pay for players was almost at $1 billion.

That's mind boggling, but so is the crazy rumor that Clemson, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida State are going to join the SEC.

That rumor makes no sense because that would take 20% of what the SEC is going to pay its 16 members (once Texas and Oklahoma are officially on board), and that's not chump change.

What makes sense is four 16-team super conferences.

If that happened, the four schools not likely to make the cut would be Cincinnati, Houston, BYU and Central Florida, who are slated to join the Big 12 next year.

It is not likely the SEC or Big Ten are going to cut any of their current members.

Yes, Vanderbilt is safe.

Expansion isn't as much about television markets as it is branding.

To cut a program that is dedicated to education, and very rich, would be the last straw for some fans.

If anyone was actually in charge of expansion, they might suggest Baylor and Oklahoma State go to the ACC and the remaining six members go west to the Pac-12.

That leaves you with four 16-team leagues.

Those 64 teams are getting the majority of the money now and their athletes are getting the majority of the NIL deals.

What that will leave in its wake is a whole bunch of schools like UALR, Arkansas State and Central Arkansas, where the athletes are playing for the love of the game and to get an education.

All of the schools left behind won't feel the love by the masses, but it will be like college athletics is still an amateur sport and the majority of the fans should embrace that for a number of reasons.

About the only difference left between colleges and professional sports is a salary cap and leadership, which pro teams have.

The $917 million was just the starting point and some wealthy boosters are just now engaging in the bidding wars.

Texas A&M hauling in a No. 1 recruiting class at a reported cost of $30 million opened a lot of eyes and not just in the SEC, where Nick Saban was truly ticked off although he and Aggies head football coach Jimbo Fisher have publicly buried the hatchet.

The story about the almost billion dollars used figures from Opendorse, an NIL organization that claims to represent 70,000 athletes and 3,000 sports marketers.

Exactly where they got their figures isn't known because schools are not required to report how much their athletes made.

And since the end of June, there have been enough rumors about how much Miami is going to pay recruits to make a small bank envious.

The NIL deals are going to go up, expansion is not over and what college football fans want more than anything is a game to watch.


Who would have expected that with all the controversy about NIL and expansion, the one guy with little to say has been Ole Miss' Lane Kiffin?

Kiffin came to the Rebels with a reputation for shooting from the lip.

His history was not great, having been fired from the Oakland Raiders, deserting Tennessee after one season, being fired on the tarmac after returning from a road game by USC and leaving Alabama under a big shadow.

All along the way he had something to say.

Now that he's made the Rebels into a contender and his life is quieter he seems like a great fit in Oxford, and when he was asked directly about the NIL he was honest and to the point, saying it is turning colleges into professional sports.

Couldn't have said it better.

Print Headline: NIL, expansion hogging all the headlines


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