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Opinion: Stop attributing every coaching move to NIL and the transfer portal

College football’s coaching carousel is still up and running.

Just in the last week we’ve seen Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley take the Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator job, Bill O’Brien take the Boston College vacancy and UCLA head coach Chip Kelly leave for O’Brien’s old post as offensive coordinator at Ohio State. That all doesn’t include the UCLA vacancy, which may be filled by another Big Ten coach.

There is a hot term today whenever any coaching move happens, whether that coach got a promotion, left a bad situation, or just needed a change of scenery:

“See! NIL and the transfer portal are ruining college football.”

I will not argue, in some cases it’s true. We’d be naive to look at the retirement of Jay Wright and not attribute at least part of it to the state of college basketball.

The current state of college athletics is in flux, and it is clearly suffering from a lack of power structure to install strict regulations — part of that being directly related to NIL and the portal.

But I’d like to send a message to the college football-watching public: Stop hitting the lowest-common-denominator talking point of ‘NIL and the portal’ to explain every coaching move, and using every coaching move to support some lazy narrative that the sport is about to die.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

This from CBS Sports Radio’s Ryan Hickey perfectly leads into the message of this article.

“Some of the biggest names, some of the best coaches in college basketball and college football are feeling like they’re being driven out of their sport, Hickey said. “Nick Saban, retired. Jim Harbaugh, leave to go to the NFL. And now even Jeff Hafley leaving Boston College to be the defensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers.”

Yes, three legendary coaches: Saban, Harbaugh…and Jeff Hafley? First of all, I posted the following on ‘X’ when this move happened, after Hafley’s agent tried to spin his move:

“Because the guy chose the Boston College job. This is like Deion stirring up all the commotion when Colorado was 2-0, & then wondering why the team had such a large spotlight. This is code for “I was bad at the job and it’s easier to progress as an NFL DC than it will be when I get fired”

It’s simple, he was a below-average college football coach who knew succeeding as a defensive coordinator would be better for his long-term prospects than getting fired at BC. That’s why he left for the NFL. If he cared so much about NIL and the portal, he wouldn’t have taken the Boston College job in the first place.

So Hafley’s one recent example. The other is Chip Kelly, who again left UCLA to take the offensive coordinator job at Ohio State.

Anybody paying an ounce of attention knew Kelly was on thin ice at UCLA, and was almost fired last year. Pair that with him losing a freshman five-star quarterback to the Portal (because Kelly benched him during the season), his star defensive coordinator leaving and UCLA having the worst recruiting class in the Big Ten, and you can see why Kelly also thought succeeding as an OC at a place like Ohio State is better for him than being fired at UCLA.

Again, NIL and the transfer portal exist as part of the job description of these coaches — of course it makes the job more challenging. I’d argue the recruiting schedule makes it harder than ever, but that’s a separate discussion.

Just because these coaches move on, move laterally or take promotions doesn’t mean NIL and the portal are driving everybody away.

There are NFL coordinators taking jobs in college (Wink Martindale with Michigan and Stephen Belichick with Washington). Does that mean the NFL model is suddenly unsustainable? Or do those moves make sense for their careers?

All I ask is that we all thing for three seconds before attributing something to NIL and the transfer portal. It’s lazy, it’s greatly reductive and doesn’t tell the full story about the state of the sport.

Story originally appeared on Badgers Wire