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Dave Boling: Nothing personal, NIL has brought business to the forefront of college sports. The schools have to adapt.

Apr. 1—Civilians would rarely benefit from hearing the time-killing chats among media members.

But here's a small portion of one that may capture the frame of mind among observers of college sports.

Before Washington State's loss to Iowa State in the Round of 32 NCAA Tournament game last week in Omaha, Nebraska, a discussion was held on the future of talented Cougars freshman point guard Myles Rice.

Hypothetical question: Would Rice celebrate his Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Year season by jumping in the transfer portal to find a more lucrative position elsewhere?

When asked for potential landing spots, my answer came quickly: "Rice (University)."

"Think of the marketing: He'd have his name on the front and back of the uniform. Big NIL opportunities."

The first factor considered: Money.

Last week, Rice actually did announce he was entering the portal. From a competitive standpoint, Rice does not seem an attractive fit for Rice, but if some rich oilman booster from Houston wanted to make him a million-dollar offer, it could sway his mind.

No knock on Rice at all. More power to him. And to all other athletes who can become financially secure.

Because this is college sports now, a marketplace called NIL: name, image and loot.

When the Alston court decision opened the NCAA to free agency, chaos and freewheeling money-grabs ensued.

Had the NCAA and college administrators waded into the topic responsibly, and with 21st century awareness, they might have corrected the unfairness in athletes' benefits without the court throwing open the doors of the bank vaults.

As with any drastic changes, the consequences, intended and unintended, are still being discovered.

Most obviously, it's fair, and long overdue for the players.

For coaches, well, they've been on the take and often on the move without limits for a long time. If you hear one lamenting a portal loss, you're probably listening to a hypocrite.

But for fans, oh, man, it's a hellscape of unrequited loyalties.

The frequent transferring reduces the time fans can develop affinity for athletes. Some of that important connection is lost.

The current shifting of conference memberships is another product of greed but might also be a function of NIL costs, knowing that more lucrative TV deals can buy better players.

The big-money schools with the richest and most-generous fan bases would soon dominate. Right? But NCAA Tournament early results don't always show that.

Adaptation is the key to evolving.

Example of unexpected consequences: No. 14 seed Oakland 80, No. 3 seed Kentucky 76.

Kentucky spent a reported $23.6 million on its men's basketball program this year. Kentucky is loaded with young five-star players with considerable NBA potential.

Oakland, meanwhile, spent a reported $2.3 million and was led by a 24-year-old transfer who had spent five years at a Division II school. Jack Gohlke is old enough to bear a resemblance to the guy in the Allstate Insurance ads who plays the human embodiment of "mayhem."

And that's exactly how Gohlke treated Kentucky's star-spangled lineup, scoring 32 points while sinking 10 3-pointers.

Commentator Jay Wright, a former national championship coach at Villanova, saw how the Oakland upset evinced a change in college basketball.

"The era of taking those young freshmen and trying to play against older players is over," Wright said. "You can see they're playing against grown men. ... the more the guys stay in college because of NIL, it's going to be tougher for young teams to be successful."

Fans will love or hate the transfer portal depending on their net gain or loss. Pepperdine just lost Michael Ajayi, a player considered to have NBA quality. Gonzaga fans, who see Ajayi fitting nicely into the Zags' loaded lineup, are surely thinking this portal thing is pretty good.

Gonzaga, again, for another example. After last season, the Zags lost Hunter Sallis, a major developing talent who left to Wake Forest, a move that might result in more playing time and a better showcase of his talents.

During the winter, when Sallis was burning through Atlantic Coast Conference opponents, and Gonzaga was suffering from inconsistent shooting and perimeter play, Zags fans had to be thinking, man, we could really use Hunter Sallis.

Sallis' scoring average as a backup at GU was 4.5 a game. It soared to 18 a game at Wake Forest, where he was first-team All-ACC for performances like his 29 points in an upset of Duke.

By the end of the season, though, the Zags matured and meshed and ended up in the NCAA Sweet 16 while Wake Forest lost in the second round of the NIT.

The winners and losers in the Sallis move? Maybe in the long run it worked out for everybody. It seems fans have to learn that players' moves don't have to be a zero-sum proposition. Transferring isn't a personal betrayal.

What fans deserve right off, though, is surcease from the strained platitudes upon player/coaches departures on social media.

Oh, how much their time at (school name) has meant to them, and how hard it is to leave (school's town). "I'll always be a (school nickname) in my heart. With that said, I'm going to extend my career at (new school name)."

Just be honest with everybody. We're old enough to take it. "Thanks, dudes, I'm getting a whole bag-a-swag from (new school) and it's time to cash in."

That's how it works, now.

As for Myles Rice? Best of luck. What a touching story of overcoming Hodgkins lymphoma and having a tremendous season with the Cougars.

He was a long way from home in South Carolina, and might well be heading back nearer family. If any young person can improve their financial and family situation, more power to them.

It's also fair to remember that when no other major schools offered Rice a scholarship, WSU invested in him, for three years, in fact, as he dealt with his serious health problems. Surely, they hoped to cash in that investment with Rice's talented play for a few seasons.

Other fans, at (school name), will find it easy to love Rice and embrace the story of his journey.

It's up to the Cougs, now, like every other team in the nation, to be smart and creative, and learn to proactively adapt to a vastly new environment.

Survival in modern college sports demands it.