Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh athletics
The big story this college football offseason has been NIL and the transfer portal. College football players being able to make money off of their name, image and likeness has certainly changed the landscape of how recruiting works.
The Jordan Addison situation is a great example of this. Addison, a former Pittsburgh receiver and the 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner, recently entered the transfer portal. It was rumored that Addison was offered a seven-figure NIL deal to head to USC. Only the man upstairs knows where he’ll end up, but this would’ve never happened a few years ago.
Talking heads all over the college football world have given their opinions on this situation and the landscape of the sport as a whole. Many can agree on one thing, however: the road that the sport is heading down is a dark, dark alley. There is, however, a solution.
Here are three things that must be done over the next five to 10 years:
1. Get rid of the NCAA
Yes, this seems ridiculous, but it must happen. The NCAA has been out of touch for a while now with its hands-off approach to the NIL issue. College football is far different than any other NCAA-sponsored sport.
So, how are we supposed to overthrow the NCAA? Before we answer that, answer this: Who provides the money to the schools? The answer is TV networks and the conferences themselves.
In 2018, each SEC school received $44 million in revenue. $40 million came from the TV deals alone.
College football needs TV network executives and conference commissioners to form their own college football committee with a head commissioner. The commissioner would provide that singular powerful voice, which is what the NCAA has been lacking.
2. Establish a Cap on NIL Money
With the newfound power that the committee has, it needs to create a cap on NIL money. Let’s be honest, the NCAA was robbing players in the past by not allowing them to make money from their own name, image and likeness.
Don’t get it twisted: NIL is great for college athletes. They are basically celebrities, who deserve royalties.
However, bidding wars start to ensue naturally. We don’t want this sport to turn into the NFL’s minor league. That is not what college athletics are meant to be.
To fix that, boosters should not be allowed to form collectives. Boosters should be fully erased from the NIL process. If they aren’t removed, the transfer portal and high school recruiting will just become an arms race. Players will follow the fat NIL deals.
3. Decrease the NIL Cap Each Portal Entry
Now, here is where the transfer portal comes into play. Player mobility has increased over the past few years with the addition of the portal.
While that is good in theory, many players have abused it and entered multiple different times when things didn’t go their way. To limit portal entries, the new committee needs to limit the number of times that a player can enter the portal or find a way to disincentivize entering the portal with regularity — like with NIL.
For example, let’s say that a player signs with out of high school with an NIL cap of $1 million per year. Now, let’s say he enters the portal and transfers to Georgia. His NIL cap would be cut in half to $500,000 per year.
Every time a player entered the portal and switched schools, his NIL cap would be cut in half. For some players, that may not be a deterrent, but for many high-profile players, it certainly would.
This would incentivize program loyalty, which some would argue has been lacking as a result of the transfer portal. However, it still allows for players to leave their current schools to find other places to succeed.
This master plan would put some organization back into the chaos that has become college football.
If you would like to listen to an audio version of this proposal, click this link: NFL Draft Recap + How to fix NIL & Transfer Portal | Episode 19 – YouTube
Follow Brendan Moore (@bmoorecfb) and the Sidelines Sports Network (@Sidelines_SN) on Twitter.