OK, we have the first villain of the NIL era.
We’ve heard coaches complain that it would damage the sport, that opening the transfer door combined with NIL rights would turn the NCAA into a de facto professional league with free agency and we I say, Oh, you’re just mad because the kids get paid, that’s not really going to happen. Even if it does, it won’t be as bad as you’re saying.
Well, we might not be entirely wrong in saying that, but it turns out the detractors made some fair point. Yesterday, hurricane MiamiS guard Isaiah Wong told the country (via a statement from his agent) that he will enter the transfer portal if his NIL “compensation” is not increased.
Given state-by-state legislation, it can be difficult to follow, but Florida doesn’t allow schools to be directly involved. The specific law reads:
“A post-secondary institution, an organization whose purposes include supporting or benefiting the organization or its athletic programs, or an officer, director, or employee of the institution or the organization may not indemnify or cause compensation to a current or prospective interscholastic athlete for her or his or her name, image, or likeness. “
So it’s not clear what Wong thinks of The U. You know, would do anything about his situation without breaking the law. While Wong can understand other players getting big deals and sponsorships through NIL and wants his own earnings to reflect his performance in Elite Eight 2022, the transfer threat not exactly aimed at anyone in particular.
If anyone does, the statement seems directed at billionaire John Ruiz, who has signed NIL contracts with more than 100 Miami student-athletes – including Wong. A transfer from Kansas State is getting more out of a Ruiz-funded contract than Wong grants him, and Wong is upset about it, though Ruiz told ESPN he’s not ready to renegotiate. (Then why put the numbers out there, Ruiz?)
Honestly, this whole situation reflects little on Wong and more on the sheer incompetence of the NCAA and the US government in navigating NIL regulations. Instead of building a solid structure and a basic set of national rules, they basically threw a bunch of 18- and 19-year-olds in the head. first into a bubbling industry to throw their millions at college athletes. Now, Wong and Miami are stuck in a situation where Wong seems to believe this is a pay-to-play structure and not a free-market deal with a non-profit.individual link.
NIL deals have been widely used as temptations and recruiting tools for upcoming engagements. Even the players you think of right now who have been successful in this field – Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Caleb Williams – had offers before they played college football. It’s about name recognition and looks and, unfortunately but in reality, a lot more than talent and leadership. But that’s how it’s always worked – especially with the complete lack of regulation coming from the collapsed structure of the NCAA.