How NIL is giving college football players their share and changing the game forever

Yahoo Sports’ Jason Fitz discusses the effects of Name, Image and Likeness on players, head coaches, and traditions in college football.

Video Transcript


JASON FITZ: Name, image, and likeness isn't going anywhere. And that means college football now has full blown free agency. But the difference between college and the NFL is, at the college level, there is no salary cap. That gives players more agency and control on their lives and careers than ever before. Now a player can look in the mirror and ask themselves not just what prepares them for the next level, if that's part of their life, but also what prepares their family and future generations to be set.

Don't believe me? Just look at this year's transfer portal. Our very own Ross Dellenger tweeted out a list of big name quarterbacks that have entered the portal this year that include names we've been talking about all season. Riley Leonard leaving Duke, that seemed unheard of just a few weeks ago. DJ Uiagalelei yet again finding another location and, maybe most shocking of all, Kyle McCord. If you're the quarterback at Ohio State, there was an expectation you were going to grow into something at that program. Now, Kyle McCord is obviously looked around the landscape and is going to figure out where his best for him. And also, Ohio State is going to look around the landscape and figure out what's best for them.

We've had big name college football coaches say that it takes $1.5 to $2 million a year to get a good quarterback at a midlevel program. Think about those numbers. Now what we're talking about are millions and millions of dollars. Now, you may sit here and say, well, it's all about playing in the NFL. Not every one of these players is going to have that opportunity. So if they now have the opportunity to leverage their skills and get into a situation where they can protect their futures, they can protect their family, and they can make sure that they are set for life, who's to blame them?

But realistically, what that means is every single coach now is not going to be judged just on how they recruit. It's not going to be judged just on how they keep people in the room. They're going to be judged on their cost analysis. Can they get the right players in at the right cost on annual contracts that give them the opportunity to be successful every single year?

For years, college football coaches have looked out for themselves. For years, programs have looked out for themselves. And frankly, for years, fans have looked out for themselves. It's always been about their experience. Now players are doing the same. And the profits coming in are earned. But they changed the game forever.