Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin sat down with our friends at Sports Illustrated to chat all things name, image, and likeness. Kiffin believes the college ranks classify as professional football. Dan Wetzel and SI's Pat Forde break down his comments. Listen to the full College Football Enquirer wherever you listen to pods.
DAN WETZEL: Lane Kiffin-- truth teller.
PAT FORDE: [LAUGHS]
DAN WETZEL: Coach Kiff sits down with our man Ross Dellenger at "Sports Illustrated" with a little interview-- offered some honesty. I like it. Lane is very-- he's like, look, I said from the beginning players-- should get paid. They do the work. Why that should be limited to a scholarship check-- I disagree with.
And they shouldn't be paid all equal. That's not what happens in the real world. Why do the best players get paid the same as the worst players? That's not real life.
You take a 17-year-old, who-- a lot of them don't come from money and their family doesn't come for money. If any person tells you their NIL is not the number one thing, take 100 of them and ask the number one thing that's going to make the decision-- it's not the size of the stadium, not the head coach, not the campus or conference. The number one thing will be money. And how would you blame them? This is the part I appreciate.
A professional player already has money, and they usually follow the money in free agency. So you don't have it and are three or four years away from getting money in the NFL. You take what is guaranteed. And how can you blame them, when a lot of them never make it to the NFL? How do you not take it?
PAT FORDE: Yeah, what Kiffin is basically saying is that NIL has replaced the college-- well, it's augmented the college scholarship and the chance for a free education as what you go for because, as he said, most of them aren't going to get to the NFL. And the thing used to be-- well, that's why you need your education, to fall back on that. Well, that's also maybe why you need the NIL money and why you take the NIL money and why the NIL money-- even if it's not truly NIL money-- pay-for-play, recruiting inducement, whatever you want to call it-- is an important part of making your decision because there's no guarantee.
Maybe there's a few people that you can look at and say they are absolutely, in three or four years, going to be NFL millionaires-- there's not many of them. Even at Alabama, you bring in 10, 5 stars, two or three or four of them are going to pan out. So four stars, it increases; three stars, obviously more than that.
So yeah, it's part of the real world. It's here. It's now. It's not going away. And it is part of the equation for how they're making their decisions.
And again, yeah, it's hard to blame any player-- especially if you came up through an impoverished or meager background at all-- to say, no, I'm not going to let that influence my decision at all. I'm going to go because I like the glamour of this school. No, let's be real here about what's on the line and what's available and what's going to drive a lot of these decisions. So yeah, I think Lane-- he did tell some truth there, for sure.
DAN WETZEL: Yeah, and the scholarship and the education are presumably still there, right? They're still there. Every school is going to offer you the thing. Whether you get an education or you just get through school, it's both part of the program and part of you. This is how the world works. We said this over and over. When someone offers you a new job, your first thing is, do I get paid more?
PAT FORDE: Right,
DAN WETZEL: Or your first job out of high school or college and you're-- I don't care if it's a summer job. Money is the thing. And if you're not in on it, you're crazy. And if you're going to sit around and go, we can't have money be a factor in this, like, what-- you're trying to change human behavior. You're trying to stop the wheels of capitalism. You're going to try to legislate something that goes against the human condition.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, and I mean--
DAN WETZEL: There's no way. Money is going to matter.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, the old-- what was it? In "The Usual Suspects" when Keyser Soze says, "The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing people he didn't exist." The greatest trick the NCAA played was convincing people that money didn't matter, right? That this was all an educational premise. But that has continued to be dismantled, to the point, now, where it's gone. I mean, money is absolutely a key driving force in every decision that's being made. And now people can admit it, and now people can allocate their resources accordingly without having to pretend that it's not part of the equation.