One prominent university is making an effort to maintain its status quo as NIL continues to polarize the college sports community.
Football coach Jim Harbaugh put it best when he said Michigan has avoided the NIL discussion. It has been reported by Sports Illustrated that:
We believe that your time at the University of Michigan should be more than just another transaction. As far back as I can remember, I’ve supported allowing student-athletes to make money off of their likeness, name, and reputation. It stands to reason… That’s something we can probably all agree is just and fair.
Basketball star Juwan Howard appears to disagree with Michigan’s approach, which leans toward the former of these contradictory statements and attempts to avoid transactions.
Howard said at a press conference on Thursday that “NIL is one of these things where it has helped some programs,” referring to the program’s work in the transfer portal. When it comes to recruiting or the transfer portal, NIL hasn’t been a problem for us. But have discussions of NIL been brought up during the hiring process? You guessed it; they have. Do I wish more had been done for the team, like what other basketball teams had, to improve their chances of success? Yes.”
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“I know it’s going to be a storyline, and that’s okay,” Howard continued. Where do I stand in this group? No. Is the existence of groups in other software normal? Yes. The use of NIL presents an opportunity for us to be more proactive and futuristic in our thinking. Yes.”
Even though Howard claims NIL hasn’t hurt recruiting, there is evidence to the contrary (at least in football). Raylen Wilson, a four-star linebacker, backed out of his commitment in June, and Hunter Dickinson, a star basketball player, has complained about the school’s inability to change.
In a radio interview in June, Dickinson warned that the team would miss out on a large number of talented players if its leadership did not begin to take responsibility. “Despite their best efforts, I feel bad for Coach Juwan and Coach Harbaugh. They are innocent of blame. For sure, the coaches are making an effort.”
What exactly is a NIL group?
Some universities have formed “collectives” to aid recruitment as they negotiate an increasingly competitive NIL landscape.
Schools were falling over themselves to sign players after July 1, 2021, when players were given the right to profit from their “name, image, and likeness” (NIL).
Not all collectives fall under the purview of the institution they claim to represent; in fact, many were founded by prominent graduates. The money they collect from boosters is pooled, and they serve as a kind of advisory board for the athletes.
Collectives are a fact of the modern recruiting landscape, and Howard thinks Michigan would benefit from having one.
In addition, Mel Tucker of Michigan State University refuses to lower his standards.
Is a group buy in Michigan’s future?
When it comes to determining the likelihood of whether or not there will be a collective in Michigan, the state has been somewhat evasive.
In June, Warde Manuel, the athletic director, said a few were “in development.” After hearing those remarks, a group of football fans called “The Champions Circle” formed.
That doesn’t solve Howard’s concerns about basketball support right away, but it does hint that Michigan might get some in the future.
Collectives have been established at both Michigan State and Ohio State, and at least one exists at each school in the Southeastern Conference. That is to say, even the most accomplished leaders will need to take some steps backward in order to remain competitive.
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