Vols and Mocs Coaches Learning to Maneuver in New NIL World of College Athletics
Texas A&M landed the nation’s top football recruiting class this year, but they were accused of using Name, Image, and Likeness deals to secure the nation’s best players. NIL is the new reality of college athletics, and Vols and Mocs coaches are trying to figure out how to deal with it.
Said Vols football coach Josh Heupel:”There is a uniqueness to playing at Tennessee. That’s in the form of the passion and fan base following. That creates unique NIL opportunities for our players too. It’s something that our staff and our university see and recognize and feel like can help us moving forward.”
Said Lady Vols head coach Kellie Harper:”So when we are talking to prospects 90 percent of them are going to ask about NIL opportunities. They just want to know what the landscape is. I can’t facilitate those things, but obviously what we try to share with our potential prospective student athletes. The opportunity is there when you put on a Lady Vol jersey. The brand is well known.”
Said Mocs football coach Rusty Wright:”At the bigger level it has completely changed college football. We have skewed the rules. It’s not what it was meant for. Kids aren’t going somewhere for name, image, and likeness. They’re going somewhere now and just flat out getting paid. It is what it is.”
Said Harper:”Obviously there are so many hurdles. So many things that I don’t even know about yet. There’s challenges with those things, but I think the intent is the opportunity for them, and I do think that’s the biggest positive.”
Said Wright:”But it’s constantly changing. We keep moving the goal post just a little bit every year. Somebody has got to get a handle on it. It’s giong to take away from college football eventually because how can you pay somebody as much as some of these guys are getting paid and expect them to go to class. Eventually you still got to go play football.”