Uh oh, here comes socialist Chuck wanting to cap the wages of these young superstar athletes in college athletics. Unfortunately for the few of you that were wishing to hate read this, that is not the purpose of this blog. I think that college athletes should be paid what they are worth, but there needs to be some rules and regulations so that the sport that I love doesn't become a sport that I detest.
The latest development in the world of college football is that 2021 Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison from the University of Pittsburgh is headed to USC for next season. The issue here is that Addison is not even officially in the transfer portal yet. Presumably, Lincoln Riley reached out to Addison while he was on Pitt's roster and negotiated an NIL deal with him to come to USC, which is a textbook tampering violation. Now, if you have followed college athletics for some time you would know that tampering and underhanded business has been occurring since recruiting went from "getting an education" to "we need to win championships." However, this time it has gone a step too far for me.
It is one thing if Addison broke out at Appalachian State and was looking for a new opportunity in a power conference to improve his stock, but Addison is the best receiver in college football at a program that just won the ACC Championship and went to the Peach Bowl. Pitt isn't exactly a mid-major, but a team that is headed in the direction of being able to compete for a spot in the College Football Playoff down the road if they keep up this trajectory. USC plays in the shadow of the Hollywood sign and if you saw their sidelines during the Bush-Leinart era, you would notice Snoop Dogg and Will Ferrell on the sidelines.
Being in LA, hosting celebrities, and being a national brand means that you have more money to BUY players than 99% of programs in the country. The issue is BUYING players is not in the spirit of what NIL was supposed to do. NIL was supposed to let players to ad deals and become brand ambassadors allowing them to earn what they are worth to that brand, their program, and to their community. NIL wasn't supposed to be an uncapped system to buy the best players in the country and bring them to your program by utilizing the new transfer portal where you don't have to sit out a season. We have already seen how this has played out in recruiting when it was reported that 5 Star QB Nico Iamaleava received $8 million to commit to Tennessee. $8 million for a guy that has never played a down of college football! Insanity! If that is what a recruit is worth, what is stopping Bryce Young from entering the portal, with no intention of leaving, just to receive $20 million+ from Alabama? If I am a player that has accomplished anything I would enter the portal and let the bidding war begin. That is essentially what college football is becoming and it is getting out of control.
What should the NCAA do? I am not sure I am smart enough to figure that out but there needs to be a way for these kids to make what they are worth without NIL turning into free agency. If Pitt can't keep elite talent, any team that isn't a national program is going to have their talent poached by programs with huge booster donations to buy the best players. If that happens we are going to see an end to college football as we know it.