Alabama Football fans will be surprised on Wednesday and perhaps later this week – even perhaps into January, February and even later. Because Nick Saban has built an Alabama Football juggernaut, many of the surprises will be good ones.
Not all the surprises will be good. There will also be disappointments. Recruits fans have followed for sometimes years; that seem essential to the Crimson Tide’s future success, will choose to go elsewhere.
There are many reasons why. A usual reason is immediate playing time, or a promise of a starting role. Nick Saban and Alabama Football do not play those games. Some other coaches do. Saban offers an opportunity to compete in the greatest college football program of all time. For some recruits (or their families or handlers), that is not enough. Other factors come into play.
The biggest ‘other’ factor has quickly become NIL opportunities. The NCAA has NIL rules. It is a waste of time to review them. Like most violations, they cannot be enforced by the NCAA’s inept enforcement division.
The benefits of the NIL market are real. Athletes deserve a piece of the largess created by the media products of college football and men’s basketball. If only the powers that be in university administrations had chosen to admit all of a school’s athletes are employees and paid them a fair amount, the current Wild West world of NIL would not exist.
But those powers ran away from that choice and what has been created instead is the worst version of free agency. Don’t take an outsider’s word for it (me). Listen to someone on the inside who now has to deal with it year-round. The surprising source of wisdom is Lane Kiffin.
Don’t miss Lane’s key point. Compensation for players is now tied to market value. Players can choose the highest bidder, and after they do they have no contractual obligation to fulfill any term of service for their chosen team. Basically, they can bail at any time, for whatever reason, and are often motivated to do so when the market offers an equal or greater financial reward.
A few years ago, Alabama Football, head coach, Nick Saban asked if the college football world was sure it wanted free agency. Now it has a bad version of it. And it is very much a double-edged sword.
Kiffin got slammed by several media pundits for his comments. It is true head coaches make crazy money, but that is not a reason to ignore his comments on college football free agency.