NIL and Transfer Portal: Dirty Little Secrets Are Out

Fans are usually the last to know about anything of much importance. Player and coaching departures, injuries, coaching staff hires and much more.

I always speak of sport having a hierarchical sense of purpose where fans and their tendencies to overreact places them at the bottom of the information chain. It’s understandable.

However, there are times when fans know something is not right. No, something is very wrong and it threatens all the things we love about college sports. So it is with NIL (Name, Likeness and Image), the new slam dunk for the greedy, slimy side of the sport. Add to that, the transfer portal, with it’s heinous, evil side and just like that, the familiar landscape of amateur collegiate athletics is bulldozed.

Overreacting fans can dare to say things that those in the middle of the fray can’t. Then, like that, enters Ole Miss head coach, Lane Kiffin’s comments on the perils of the NIL and Dabo Swinney’s scathing commentary regarding the misuse of the transfer portal.

I understand the mere mention of Kiffin’s name opens up anything he says to criticism and is usually dismissed, lampooned as just stupidity. Swinney too, is dismissed by some as a holy-rolling do-gooder.

Kiffin is seen as the glib, sarcastic, loose cannon of college football but remember, even a loose cannon fires straight once in a blue moon. Kiffin let out the dirty little secrets of the lured truths behind the concepts of NIL and Swinney called out misuse of the overcrowded portal. Both citing that these are just another way for the rich to gain a lucrative hold on those that want to be rich.

I suspect that when money is injected into anything, it changes all the things left in something that once was so good, such as college sports. It’s a shame that many should but won’t ever accept responsibility. In their warped sense of shortsighted greed, their actions blur the line between what’s legal and what’s right. Overreacting fans saw this coming from miles away. Yes, fans might seem irrational, overwrought, but don’t dismiss them as just passion filled lunatics, they are the ever present watchdogs of college athletics.

A real watchdog patrols, alerts and attacks any perceived intrusion into their world. Today, the watchdogs are barking because there is an intruder the college football world. It’s name is greed.

What was a legal decision, an acknowledgment by the Supreme Court that student athletes have a right to profit from the use of what’s inherently their’s at first, was seen as a positive. Now, through the willful, deliberate exploitation by those that find convenient loopholes, the courts must re-visit this issue to find a suitable legal remedy.

As for the transfer portal, it was intended to offer those athletes seeking a one-time chance to walk a different path and do so without penalty. It’s now ripe with underhanded tainting and a circumvention of the process. The overt nature of those that want and attempt to steal from others is just wrong and it must be fixed.

Whether taken separately or together, both “new” concepts presents a clear and present danger to the deeply rooted goodness of amateur sports. To ignore this encroachment is to rob everyone, especially the student athletes, of what they most want and deserve. A fair and level playing field in which to compete.

It really has become and will continue to be a “rich gets richer and poor, poorer” proposition. Action to close these flagrant excessive loopholes of the greedy must happen soon or it might be too late. To think, the Mississippi loose cannon and the upstate South Carolina evangelist were among the first to cry foul. Yes, notice has been served and college sports needs to heed their warnings. To ignore them, is to risk extinction of college sports as we know it. That would be a sad ending to a glorious long standing tradition.

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