OK, we have our first NIL-era villain.
We heard the coaches complaining that it would ruin the sport, that opening up the transfer portal combined with NIL rights would turn the NCAA into a de facto professional league with free agency and we said, Oh, you’re just mad that the kids get paid, that’s not really gonna happen. Even if it does happen, it won’t be as bad as you say.
Well, we may not have been totally wrong in saying that, but it turns out the detractors made some fair points. Yesterday, the Miami hurricanes guard Isaiah Wong has told the country (through a statement from his agent) that he will enter the transfer portal if his NIL “compensation” is not increased.
With state-by-state regulation of laws, this can be difficult to follow, but Florida does not allow schools to be directly involved. The law specifies in particular:
“A post-secondary educational institution, an entity whose purpose includes the support or benefit of the institution or its athletic programs, or an officer, director or employee of such an institution or entity may not compensate or make so that compensation is paid to a current or potential intercollegiate athlete for his name, image or likeness.
So it’s unclear exactly how Wong thought about The U. was going to do anything for his situation without, you know, breaking the law. While Wong understandably sees other players getting good deals and sponsorships through NIL and wants his own income to reflect his performance in the 2022 Elite Eight, the transfer threat isn’t exactly directed at anyone in particular. .
If anyone, the statement appears to be directed at billionaire John Ruiz, who has signed NIL agreements with more than 100 Miami student-athletes – including Wang. A transfer from Kansas State gets more in a Ruiz-sponsored deal than Wong’s contract gives him, and Wong is upset about it, though Ruiz told ESPN he doesn’t want to renegotiate . (So why put the numbers there, Ruiz?)
To be fair, this whole situation is less a reflection on Wong and more on the sheer incompetence of the NCAA and the US government in navigating regulations on NIL. Rather than building a solid structure and a set of basic national rules, they basically threw a group of 18 and 19 year olds in the lead. first cometo an industry that’s been raving about throwing their millions at college athletes. Now Wong and Miami are stuck in a situation where it looks like Wong thinks this is a pay-to-play structure and not a free-market deal with a non-affiliated person.
NIL offers have been widely used as temptations and recruiting tools for incoming commits. Even the players you’re thinking of right now who have had success on the court – Bryce Young, C.J Stroud, Caleb Williams — had offers pouring in before they played in a college football game. It’s about name and appearance recognition and, sadly but realistically, a lot of things other than talent and leadership. But that’s how it was always going to work – especially with the complete lack of regulation coming from the crumbling structure that is the NCAA.