As high school and college athletes in the NCAA’s transfer portal seek large endorsement deals based on their name, image, and likeness, coaches from their respective programs are growing increasingly frustrated, wishing that business “would go back to being under the table.”
“There’s no rules, no guidance, no nothing. It’s out of control,” Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney said when asked about the NLI-era in college athletics. “At least when things were kept under the table it didn’t feel like your head was spinning every day trying to keep up with it all. Back then, if you needed a little extra juice to get a kid to commit, you just called an alumnus and BAM! The kid would have a new Cadillac in his driveway the next day. Now we’re having to go to the actual dealerships with them. It’s a broken system.”
Swinney’s reference to “back then” is really just a small step back to 2021, the final year of an era where the NCAA highly regulated any compensation student-athletes received outside of normal scholarships, including gifts, cash deals, and even YouTube revenue - forms of business many programs still used to lure recruits, just behind closed doors or through the use of boosters or family intermediaries.
The fact that business is now conducted out in the open and causing a national stir amongst the college football elite shouldn’t come as a surprise, says former NCAA president Mark Emmert.
“Oh, are the new rules regarding NLI not working out like everyone thought it would? That is so sad!” said the recently retired Emmert, who was donning a shirt that said “#SUCKIT” when reached for comment. “What a poor and unfortunate situation that nobody could have possibly foreseen or warned everyone about!”
Despite the uncertain wildfire surrounding recruiting and NLI deals, the overall state of college football is “still very much the same,” according to sources, who tell End of the Bench that coaches around the NCAA still believe programs like USC, Notre Dame, and Texas will be “wildly overrated” this coming season.