Nashville – Ole Miss head coach len kiffin To keep the schools on a level playing field, the NCAA has been one of the biggest supporters of college football in finding a transfer portal and a unified plan regarding name, image and likeness.
Although Kiffin is all for players getting paid, the concern about being able to put more into the pot of programs and boosters than others has been a common concern for coaches.
So, when a reporter asked Kiffin during a Thursday session at SEC Media Days if he would rank the teams and their boosters in the SEC, it was like putting a piece of meat in front of a bear.
“I’m not going to start putting rankings on boosters from top to bottom in the conference. Although, Lord, I wish so bad,” Kiffin said to laughter from the media crowd. “The commissioner said, remember, we have grown up a lot and you don’t have to answer every question to show everyone that you have the answer. So, that’s what I’m going to do in this situation. But like I said before, you want to look at the best boosters in the country and ultimately the schools that have the most money to decide to pay players, just look at the recruiting rankings over the next few years. That will give you your answer.”
Kiffin used the opening statement of his press conference to express his concerns with the NIL as well as the NCAA transfer portal.
He didn’t back down.
“First of all, I’ve always said I think it’s phenomenal that players get a chance to get paid, which is great. I think, as I said before standing here when this first happened, that there will be some major issues and we’re having free agency with Portal. And with the NIL, you’re getting paid a lot to play and that’s it,” Kiffin said. “Combining those two things, there’s no system. I don’t think there’s any other game at any level like this that can, really, every year, opt for free agency.”
Kiffin’s comments come despite the fact that his insurgents have increasingly benefited from Portal. Ole Miss has made 14 transfers on defense alone and more than 20 overall. Still, Kiffin said that accessing the portal often is a situation he doesn’t want to be in.
“I’m not complaining about it because we take advantage of free agency, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s really good for college football. These massive changes to rosters every year, really, is not in the best interest of college football,” he said. “When you add zero at the same time, we’ve built, I’ve said it before, we’ve got separate limits and no luxury tax. So, we have professional sports, because that’s really what we’re built on now.
Without limitation, Kiffin said that the programs with the most aggressive boosters would get the best players.
“Now we’re adding some states where you don’t have to follow the NCAA, and now the university can take their money and give it to the players en masse,” he said. “So now we really have pay for sports that the biggest schools with the biggest donors, the most aggressive, and the schools that want to spend the most money to pay players to come to their school, we’re on board with it.”
Unfortunately, Kiffin admits he doesn’t have more answers.
“I feel like in it; I don’t have an exact solution, as it’s very complex and the commissioners are much more educated on these things than I am. Because I used to say they have to be employees, so they can have actual contracts, so when they come in, you can see someone signing a two, three, four year contract. But there are other issues,” Kiffin said. “That solves one problem, but opens up more when they are actually university employees. I don’t have exact answers. When asked, I have always said, make the window smaller so that at least we know what your roster is and there are not so many opportunities for players.
“Like I said, I love that players get paid, but you don’t — there’s no other system like it. As I’ve said to my players. I’ve said to parents of our key players, it’s a great time to be a kid or a parent, right where college football is. They’ll probably eventually fix it, so you’ll see it a window over a few years where you can literally take advantage of your program every window or you can go into free agency and get the most money out there.”