‘They’re going where they’re going to get paid the most’

OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin is done ignoring what the transfer portal has done to college football recruiting.

“I don’t think people really say it this way, but let’s not make a mistake: We have free agency in college football,” Kiffin said. “The kids a lot of times go to where they’re going to get paid the most. No one else is saying that, maybe. But the kids say ‘This is what I’m getting here from NIL.’ “

Over the last three years, there have been three major changes to college football that have created the mess that is modern recruiting.

The transfer portal was established in 2018, allowing players to declare a transfer and begin communicating with prospective coaches while still on campus at their previous school. This year, the NCAA passed legislation that allows players to transfer penalty-free one time in their college careers, removing the obstacle of ineligibility from transfer choices. And also as of this year, players can now be paid for their names, images and likenesses, allowing third-party money to legally influence players’ choices as to where they want to play.

Combine those three changes and there’s a lot of good for players. It’s good players can make money off advertising and self-promotion. It’s good players can transfer freely if they believe there are better opportunities to be had elsewhere. It’s good there’s a regulated place coaches and players can legally communicate in the transfer market without risk of violating compliance rules.

You also create a bit of a disaster when it comes to roster management.

“Right now you’re practicing for bowl games,” Kiffin said. “We had a player not here (Monday) because he’s still on his official visit to another place. Just really think about that. It’s very strange. I had a recruiting weekend this weekend where I had to fly out really…


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