In a candid and impassioned address during SEC media days on Thursday, Ole Miss Coach Lane Kiffin did not shy away from expressing his concerns about the current state of college football.
Rather than waiting for questions, Kiffin took the initiative and delved straight into two hot-button topics: the impact of the transfer portal and the introduction of name, image, and likeness deals.
Kiffin began by acknowledging that players should have the opportunity to be compensated for their efforts through NIL arrangements. However, he was quick to point out the unintended consequences of this new system, stating, “The unintended consequence of NIL is this pay-for-play situation, where players are swayed by monetary incentives, and the teams with the deepest pockets get the best talent.”
— Matt Stewart (@MattStewartTV) July 20, 2023
With regard to the transfer portal, Kiffin likened the current situation to “free agency” in professional sports. He highlighted the fact that unlike in the pro leagues, where free agency is limited, every college player can potentially enter free agency twice a year, during the spring and winter transfer windows.
“We’ve essentially got professional sports without a salary cap or luxury tax,” Kiffin remarked, acknowledging that while his team also benefits from the system, the overall impact has led to numerous “issues” for coaches.
“We take advantage, obviously, of free agency,” he added, referring to Ole Miss’ active involvement in the transfer portal. The team has managed to secure some high-profile transfers, including former USC quarterback Jaxson Dart, former All-Big 12 selection Spencer Sanders from Oklahoma State, and highly-rated prospect Walker Howard.
Despite his team’s success in navigating the current system, Kiffin expressed concern about the direction college football is heading. Ole Miss had a significant roster overhaul this summer, bringing in a total of 40 new scholarship players through transfers and high school recruits.
“That’s the world we live in,” Kiffin acknowledged. “But at the same time, I don’t think that’s really good for college football. These massive overhauls of rosters every year really are not in the best interest of the sport.”
Kiffin painted a bleak picture of the future, suggesting that the system might lead to further disparities in talent recruitment, with donor bases heavily influencing recruiting rankings and the allocation of funds to players.
“This is the state of the union for all coaches around the country – a poor system that isn’t getting better and is likely to worsen,” Kiffin lamented. “Somehow it’s got to get fixed because there’s no system around it.”
Despite his concerns, Kiffin’s Ole Miss team has performed admirably in recent years, securing three consecutive bowl appearances while maintaining an impressive 23-13 record in his three seasons in Oxford.
With a promising season ahead, Ole Miss opens the campaign at home against Mercer on September 2nd, boasting one of the nation’s top running backs in sophomore Quinshon Judkins, who led the SEC in rushing with an impressive 1,567 yards last season.
College football will continue to face the challenges posed by the transfer portal and NIL.
What is your honest opinion on NIL and the new policies in college football?