Ole Miss Head Coach Lane Kiffin speaks at the 2023 SEC Football Kickoff Media Days at the Nashville Grand Hyatt on Broadway, Thursday, July 20, 2023.

Lane Kiffin calls NIL ‘poor system getting worse’

If Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin had his way, the Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) initiative would be out of college football and more schools would integrate mental health training into their programs.

One of those he has no control over, but he’s become somewhat of a pioneer on the latter front.

Kiffin took the podium at SEC Media Days on Thursday in Nashville and, per usual, had a lot to say.

Regarding NIL, Kiffin said it’s a “poor system that’s getting worse.”

Kiffin is in favor of the transfer portal and also a believer in players getting compensated. But it’s the combination of those that Kiffin says is potent and dangerous.

“You just told donors you could pay players,” Kiffin said.

“Now, we have professional sports. That’s what’s been created now,” Kiffin went on. “There are no caps to what guys can make or payrolls, so when this first came out, I said, whatever programs have the most aggressive boosters with the most players are going to get the best players. Now, we are adding some states that don’t follow the NCAA.

“It’s where we are at.”

When pressed further, Kiffin said he doesn’t have answers — he just knows it’s a problem.

“I’m not complaining because we take advantage, obviously, of free agency,” said Kiffin, likening the portal to free agency in pro sports. “It isn’t good for college football, these overhauls of college rosters. It really isn’t in the best interest of college football.”

Meanwhile Kiffin’s team is believed to be the first program to establish mandatory mental health training for all coaches and players.

“This mental health area is not in that old-school coaching book at all,” Kiffin said. “It was, ‘Hey, shut up and go practice and play,’ especially in the sport of football. Just over the years in going through so many mental health issues with our players and coaches and not having tools or a good system in place — besides just sending them across campus to a mental health specialist.

“I was excited to do (training) with that and excited for the education with that,” he added. “The ability to see things and help our players is really neat. They just go through so much.”

Kiffin also touched on the SEC expanding by two in 2024, when Oklahoma and Texas arrive from the Big 12.

“I actually joked to (Texas coach) Steve Sarkisian yesterday, I don’t know why any coach would want to go to the NFL,” Kiffin said. “We’re in it now. I mean, our schedule is like playing in the NFL … especially adding (Texas and Oklahoma).”

Kiffin, 48, went 8-5 last season and is 23-13 heading into his fourth season with the Rebels. Ole Miss opens the season at home against Mercer on Sept. 2 in Oxford, Miss.

–Field Level Media

Florida Gators recruit Jaden Rashada smiles on the sideline during the second half against the Florida Gators at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, November 12, 2022. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

Ncaa Football Florida Gators Vs South Carolina Gamecocks

Reports: Florida releases QB Jaden Rashada after NIL deal nixed

Jaden Rashada is free to sign with another team after he was released from his national letter of intent by Florida, multiple media outlets reported Friday.

A four-star quarterback prospect, Rashada asked for his release after a reported $13 million name, image and likeness deal fell through.

Universities in Florida are prohibited by state law from providing or arranging NIL competition, with deals instead made through third parties called collectives.

The Gator Collective terminated its agreement with Rashada on Dec. 7, The Athletic reported, adding the group hoped to sign him to a lesser deal.

Rashada, who is rated as the No. 7 quarterback in the 2023 class by the 247Sports composite, never enrolled in classes this month as planned and asked to be released earlier this week.

National Signing Day is Feb. 1. He signed with the Gators during the early signing period in December.

A California native, Rashada originally committed to Miami before flipping to Florida. He took official visits to those schools, as well as LSU, Texas A&M and Ole Miss, according to 247Sports.

With Rashada out of the picture, the Gators’ quarterback situation is muddled. Anthony Richardson started the 2022 season then declared for the NFL draft, and his backup, Jalen Kitna, was dismissed from the program after being arrested on child pornography charges.

A pair of Big Ten transfers, Graham Mertz from Wisconsin and Jack Miller III from Ohio State, are expected to compete for the starting QB job.

As for Rashada, 247Sports reported that he is scheduled to make an unofficial visit to Arizona State this weekend. His father, Harlen, played defensive back for the Sun Devils in the early 1990s.

–Field Level Media

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Rob Sale hugs Florida Gators recruit Jaden Rashada after the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, November 12, 2022. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

Ncaa Football Florida Gators Vs South Carolina Gamecocks

Reports: QB Jaden Rashada asks for Florida release over NIL miss

Quarterback Jaden Rashada wants out of a commitment to Florida due to a failed Name, Image and Likeness agreement worth a reported $13 million.

Rashada originally committed to Miami in June 2022 but changed his plans to sign with Florida four days before Christmas. When an expected NIL deal with Gator Collective wasn’t formalized, per reports, Rashada didn’t enroll at the university last week.

Florida coach Billy Napier visited transfer portal option Walker Howard last week. The four-star Louisiana product left LSU after playing only two games in 2022, but he committed to Ole Miss on Wednesday.

Napier said at the Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 3 that he expected Rashada to enroll early to join the team in January.

Rashada said on Nov. 11 before attending the Florida-South Carolina game that he was committing to Napier based on what the Gators were building.

“I have watched this season and Coach Napier and his team are building something very special in The Swamp and I want to be a part of it,” Rashada said via Twitter.

On the heels of 2022 starter Anthony Richardson declaring for the NFL draft and the dismissal of Jalen Kitna due to child pornography charges, the Gators might be left with Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz and Jack Miller III competing this spring. Miller, a redshirt freshman, started for Florida in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Gator Collective had a binding agreement with Rashada that AP reported was worth $13 million over four years before it was canceled.

Rashada was the top recruit in Florida’s incoming class, ranked in the top 50 by most recruiting services — No. 27 at ESPN — and a top-10 quarterback.

Rashada left Gainesville to return to his home near San Francisco after opting not to register at the Jan. 13 spring deadline, his mother told 247 Sports.

–Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Drake Maye (10) passes the ball in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

UNC QB Drake Maye calls transfer talk ‘rumors’

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye says reports of him entering the transfer portal to chase millions in name, image and likeness deals are “rumors.”

In an interview Thursday with ESPN, the redshirt freshman responded to recent comments from Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi that two schools had offered him $5 million to transfer.

“Those rumors weren’t really reality,” said Maye, whose Tar Heels (9-4) are preparing to face Oregon (9-3) in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Wednesday.

“Pitt’s coach ended up putting that out there. I don’t know what that was about. You have to enter the transfer portal to talk to these schools and hear these offers. For me, I think college football is going to turn into a mess. They’re going to have to do something. There was nothing to me or my family directly offered from any of these other schools. Nothing was said or offered to the Mayes.”

Maye, the ACC Player of the Year, would certainly have his pick of programs if he did elect to leave Chapel Hill. He led the ACC in passing yards (4,115) and touchdowns (35) this season, numbers that rank third and tied for fifth nationally, respectively.

North Carolina coach Mack Brown said Maye has turned down “a whole lot of money” to stay at North Carolina, but Maye said it was never about the dollars.

“It wouldn’t sit right, especially with all my family,” Maye told ESPN.

His father, Mark Maye, is a former UNC quarterback and his brother, Luke, was a star for the Tar Heels’ basketball team.

“Switching it up after everything the Mayes went through wouldn’t represent what the university means to me or how much it means for me to go there,” Drake Maye said. “It’d mess up the mojo and all we’ve built there. That Carolina blue is special. There’s no other color in the world that meaningful.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2021; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff speaks before the 2021 Pac-12 Championship Game between the Oregon Ducks and the Utah Utes at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12, Twitter form NIL partnership for players tweeting highlights

Football players and men’s and women’s basketball players at Pac-12 institutions soon will have the option to be paid per tweet.

The Pac-12 announced a name, image and likeness (NIL) rights partnership with Twitter and other companies that will allow athletes in those sports to monetize videos of their highlights on social media.

Sports tech startup Tempus Ex Machina will give participating athletes access to a customized video after each game, showing their highlights from different camera angles. When players tweet their personal clips, Twitter will add pre-roll advertising and the athlete will receive some of the ad money.

Twitter did not disclose how the revenue would be split between the athletes and the companies.

The Pac-12 claims it’s the first NIL deal of its kind. It will begin with the 2022-23 academic year.

“The Pac-12 is committed to providing our student-athletes with best-in-class technology, tools and promotional platforms that support their individual brands,” commissioner George Kliavkoff said in a statement. “Our partnership with Tempus Ex is focused on enhancing our student-athlete and fan experiences, and today’s announcement is another important step in positioning the Pac-12 as a leader when it comes to student-athlete promotion and brand building.”

–Field Level Media

Jul 14, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; A view of the Texas Tech Red Raiders helmet logo during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Nonprofit that backs Texas Tech to include 100 players in NIL deal

Football players at Texas Tech — 100 of them — can look forward to receiving a $25,000 contract for their name, image and likeness (NIL) rights this season.

The Matador Club, a nonprofit collective set up by donors to the university, has announced plans to begin the $2.5 million program of payments to players — all 85 who are under scholarship and 15 walk-ons — starting monthly. The first checks are to go out in the first week of August.

Cody Campbell, a member of the Matador Club’s board of directors, told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that the players are expected to perform charitable work and community service in and around Lubbock, Texas. The contracts will be renewable annually.

Texas law prohibits schools from taking part in NIL deals, so they must come from outside organizations.

Campbell, a former Red Raiders offensive lineman, noted that while “it’s going to become known that Texas Tech has a good NIL program that’ll be appealing to recruits,” there will be no guarantees of compensation.

“We’re not going to make any promises on the front end. We’re not going to break any rules,” Campbell said.

–Field Level Media

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher andAlabama head coach Nick Saban chat at midfield before the Alabama vs. Texas A&M game in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday September 22, 2018.


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Nick Saban reiterates he regrets naming names in NIL flap

Alabama coach Nick Saban again tried to defuse a dustup of his own creation with Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, saying Tuesday at the SEC spring meetings that, “I didn’t really say anybody did anything wrong,” and that he has “no problem” with Fisher.

Saban again said that he regrets naming specific institutions two weeks ago at a fundraising event when he used Texas A&M and Jackson State as examples of how NIL money is being used improperly in recruiting. That sparked a response from Fisher in which he denied the accusations and lambasted Saban.

Talking to reporters on the opening day of SEC spring meetings, Saban said, “You know, I didn’t really say anybody did anything wrong.” Saban was interrupted by a reporter who said: “You said they bought their recruiting class.”

“I didn’t say anybody did anything wrong,” Saban repeated. “I said everything I’m going to say about this. … I should have never mentioned individual institutions.”

Saban said he supports players’ access to NIL income but suggested the lack of enforceable national rules creates an untenable situation.

“Some kind of uniform name, image and likeness stand that supports equitable national competition is really, really important for college football,” Saban said. “And we’ve always had that with scholarships, Alston money or whatever that might be. So that’s kind of point one.

“Point two is we need some kind of transparency in name, imagine and likeness deals to verify that players are doing what they need to do to have the opportunity to make in name, image and likeness. Believe me, I’m all for players making as much as they can. But I also think that we’ve got to have some uniform, transparent way to do that.”

Four other SEC head coaches wouldn’t touch the subject of the simmering feud, which has been the talk of college football since Saban’s May 18 comments and the response from Fisher, who was a Saban assistant for five years at LSU.

Fisher, who has refused to accept calls from Saban, was not scheduled to speak Tuesday but a Texas A&M representative said he might speak later in the week.

–Field Level Media

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, left, and Alabama head coach Nick Saban meet at midfield after their game in College Station, Texas, in 2019.

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Jimbo Fisher: Just 1 early signee at Texas A&M has NIL deal

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher continued to deny that his program’s incoming players were “bought” via name, image and likeness deals.

Fisher said in an interview with a San Antonio TV station that most of the Aggies’ 11 early enrollees do not have an NIL deal in place, pushing back on the notion initially espoused by Alabama coach Nick Saban that Fisher “bought every player” on his team.

“I just researched this,” Fisher said in the KSAT interview, which was recorded last Friday and aired Sunday night. “Of the 11 guys we have in place that came early? One guy has an NIL deal. So all these stories you’re hearing are complete lies.”

Saban set off a firestorm when he told business leaders at an event in Birmingham, Ala., that without regulations for NIL, coaches at competing programs would be able to “buy” any player, likening it to free agency without a salary cap.

“A&M bought every player on their team — made a deal for name, image, likeness. We didn’t buy one player, all right?” Saban said. He later apologized for singling out Texas A&M and other programs.

Fisher responded last Thursday, defending his program and calling Saban a “narcissist.”

“Some people think they’re God,” Fisher said. “Go dig into how God did his deal, you may find out about a lot of things that you don’t want to know. We build (Saban) up to be the czar of college football. Go dig into his past.

“I just know that what we did was nothing wrong. Not done the wrong way. Nothing was promised. Nothing was a deal. And we didn’t buy any players,” Fisher added. “You can call me anything you want to call me, you don’t call me a cheat. I don’t cheat. I don’t lie.”

Fisher also told KSAT that he did not plan to talk with Saban about his remarks, which he initially made clear at his press conference Thursday.

–Field Level Media

Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell conducts warm-ups in Doak Campbell Stadium before the Garnet and Gold spring game kickoff Saturday, April 9, 2022.

Fsu Spring Game155

Florida State coach alleges programs are tampering

Florida State coach Mike Norvell said players on the Seminoles’ roster have received “outside contact” from other programs that would equate to tampering.

In a hyperactive offseason for transfers, Norvell said in an interview on the ACC Network the players in question weren’t in the transfer portal or considering a transfer from Tallahassee.

“We had conversations, there were a couple guys on our team that have had people from the outside talking. They were not in the portal, but they’re trying to make decisions on certain things for their future,” Norvell said. “That’s what’s unfortunate. But grateful for the guys we have and the team that we’re going to be able to move forward with. But for college athletics, we want to be together here moving forward.”

This isn’t the first charge of tampering in the conference since the 2021 season ended.

Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers had “six figure offers” on the table from schools trying to lure him, but turned them down, he told ESPN.

Pitt wide receiver Jordan Addison entered the transfer portal on the final day moves were permitted to be eligible for next season. Addison, who won the Biletnikoff Award with 1,479 receiving yards and 17 touchdown catches, landed at Southern California.

Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi told ESPN he reached out to new Trojans coach Lincoln Riley multiple times under suspicion he had contacted Addison about replacing No. 1 wide receiver Drake London, who entered the NFL draft.

It’s not just an ACC issue.

Texas sophomore wide receiver Xavier Worthy reportedly weighed a lucrative NIL-related offer from another program before the May 1 transfer portal closing in a report detailed by 247Sports. But Worthy ultimately decided he would stay in Austin.

–Field Level Media

Dec 8, 2020; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; A general view of a reflection of the Miami Hurricanes school logo on the scorers table prior to the game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Purdue Boilermakers at Watsco Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

NCAA releases new NIL guidelines regarding boosters

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors on Monday sent member schools guidelines to govern name, image and likeness (NIL) rights.

NIL has become the primary avenue college athletes have been able to explore to generate revenue for themselves since that practice became legal from an NCAA perspective last summer.

The new guidelines, which arrive 10 months after the NCAA lost its Supreme Court case pertaining to student revenue, dictate that boosters should not have contact with prospective college athletes nor their family or other representatives, a clear attempt to limit incentivizing athletes to sign with schools.

Per the official documentation, “NCAA rules preclude boosters from engaging in recruiting activities, including recruiting conversations, on behalf of a school. Further, NCAA recruiting rules preclude boosters from providing benefits to PSAs and preclude institutional staff members from being involved, directly or indirectly, with the provision of benefits to a PSA (prospect student athlete).

“Recruiting conversations between an individual or entity that has triggered booster status and a PSA are not permissible.

“NIL agreements must be based on an independent, case-by-case analysis of the value that each athlete brings to an NIL agreement as opposed to providing compensation or incentives for enrollment decisions, athletic performance, achievement or membership on a team.”

The NCAA’s guidance, therefore, arrives with the suggestion that NIL payments to entice recruits has never been acceptable, not even in light of the rules changes last summer, and could result in sanctions retroactively.

“While the NCAA may pursue the most outrageous violations that were clearly contrary to the interim policy adopted last summer, our focus is on the future,” board chair and University of Georgia president Jere Morehead told ESPN.

That statement provides some of the sharpest teeth the NCAA has yet displayed throughout this process, though the risk of antitrust lawsuits levied by boosters remains a deterrent against the NCAA providing a heavy hand in enforcement.

NCAA sanctions against violating schools are more likely to focus on institutional punishment rather than player eligibility, per reporting from Sports Illustrated, though it remains unclear what that might entail.

–Field Level Media