Lane Kiffin sounds the warning bell on NIL and the transfer portal but it’s probably too late

July 20, 2023

Lane Kiffin full press conference at 2023 SEC Media Days


You have to give Lane Kiffin credit for saying something. But it’s probably too late.

Thursday at the SEC Media days the Ole Miss head football coach correctly referred to college football as professional sports. The biggest spenders will get the best players. There’s no changing it now. There will be tweaks but there’s too much money to be made and had.

Side note, check out the podium and lighting in the video above, the SEC Football Media days are more like a Southern Football Convention these days. This was a speech, not a press conference.

Here is a transcript of Kiffin’s comments in part:

“You know, some topics here that are out there, and so I’m going to address the portal, NIL, what I kind of call disaster that we’re in. I know that question is going to come. And the reason why I break that down usually is because I do afterwards get a lot of feedback from you guys in the media or the fans that they are appreciative of coaches that really addresses where it’s at and what are the challenges with it.”

“First off, I’ve always said that I think it’s phenomenal that players get a chance to get paid, which is great. I do think, which I’ve stood up here and said before when it first happened, that there’s going to be some major issues and we’re creating free agency with the portal.”

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

“I mean, I was just thinking on the plane ride over here. What if you had that in other sports? Tom Brady, A’Jai Wilson, Lionel Messi, LeBron James, what if every year those guys can opt to free agency, twice a year, really and they have no long-term contracts? Basically everybody is not even on a one-month contract because they can leave in two windows.”

“It’s created a lot of issues and roster changes. I’m not complaining about it because we take advantage of free agency, but at the same time, I don’t think that’s really good for college football. These massive overhauls of rosters every year, really, is not in the best interest of college football.”

“When you add the NIL at the same time, we have created, I’ve said it before, we’ve got different caps and no luxury taxes. So we’ve got professional sports, because that really is what we are, what’s been created now, and there’s no caps on what guys can make or what teams’ payrolls are.”

“When this first came out, basically said, whatever programs have the most aggressive boosters with the most money are going to get the players. 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.”

“So now we really have pay-for-play that the biggest schools with the most donors, most aggressive, and the school wants to spend the most money paying the players to play to come to their school, is where we are with that.”

“So there’s kind of your state of the union of what all coaches are dealing with around the country. And really, a poor system that isn’t getting better is now going to get worse with this. Because again, now we just — look at recruiting rankings and you’re going to see that they are usually going to follow this donor base and what schools are going to decide to give the most money to the players.”

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