Many coaches and administrators are experiencing sticker shock over an above-table market that sprouted up seemingly overnight and is now having a profound effect on where certain recruits are committing. Others have resigned themselves to NIL bidding wars becoming the new normal.
“I think it’s not going to be long until every signee at a Power 5 school is on some form of NIL — and that may be this coming year,” said Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin.
Many states’ NIL laws adopted last summer prohibit schools from directly brokering deals. That opened the door for third-party collectives — organizations that pool fan and booster donations in order to compensate a specific school’s athletes. Boosters at a small handful of programs — Texas A&M, Texas, Tennessee, Oregon and Miami chief among them — mobilized the quickest when the NCAA allowed NIL compensation for the first time last July. But they are far outnumbered by exasperated coaches and administrators who fear their programs getting left behind. Many have lost recruits simply because another school’s collective offered an NIL package it couldn’t match.
“We lost a kid (on signing day) over that. That hurt,” a Power 5 head coach told The Athletic. “Two hours before, the mom is telling me he’s coming here. And then she said, ‘Coach, how can we turn down $300,000?’ You can’t. Take it, I get it.”