Lane Kiffin isn’t the hero school soccer needed, and positively not the one we thought we’d get, however he could be the hero school soccer wants. The 47-year-old Ole Miss coach has watched the SEC drama of the previous week play out in a kind of shocked delight (a person of the folks), and in an interview printed by Sports activities Illustrated, he took a really completely different tack than the one a lot of his friends have chosen on the ever-shifting state of faculty athletics. Reasonably than complaining about unfairness or corruption and hurling thinly veiled accusations at his opponents, he’s taking all of it in with open arms and a full acceptance of actuality — which is wanting an increasing number of like the one method left to outlive within the sport.
Whereas only a few school coaches have explicitly come out towards the speculation of NIL since its official inception final July, many have criticized the way in which it has performed out, saying that it isn’t getting used “the proper method” or that the “spirit” of the rule isn’t being adopted. They use buzzwords like “unsustainable” and “semi-pro,” and attempt to persuade the world that this new laws is dooming the way forward for school athletics.
And whilst you may agree with components of that sentiment, nobody desires to listen to that form of stuff being spewed from the mouth of somebody who makes one thing within the $10 million vary from a profession of teaching children who’ve (supposedly) taken house nothing for many years. After all, the open secret of getting a bit further recruiting assist from boosters has lengthy been round and acknowledged, however now that cash can overtly be used as a recruiting software, everybody’s towards “the spirit” and “the ethics” of all of it. Stated one other method — coaches and directors are upset that they don’t have full management over the children anymore, significantly given the lax switch portal guidelines.
Enter Lane Kiffin. Eternally likable nowadays (until you’re a Tennessee fan), real on social media, fast with a joke, and unapologetically himself, Kiffin has been the one main program coach to return ahead and say what we’re all pondering:
“We’re knowledgeable sport and they’re skilled gamers.”
Who would have thought, certainly? Amongst all of the proselytizing and grandstanding, the honest-to-goodness fact concerning the state of the game from Lane freaking Kiffin. Kiffin was, after all, not well-liked for a lot of his profession. Seen as a failed nepotism rent with the Raiders, he additionally carried out poorly at Tennessee and USC (“left on the tarmac” ring any bells?) earlier than Nick Saban took him beneath his wing at Alabama. Now head coach of Ole Miss, he pulls stunts like unfollowing everybody on Instagram besides Arch Manning, telling reporters that the Saban-Fisher drama ought to have been aired on Pay-Per-View, doing Nick Saban impressions, and, most significantly, being humorous on Twitter, the latter a surefire option to win folks over.
In the SI interview, he openly affirms that players should be paid, and while the presence of collectives is questionable to just about everyone involved in the sport, he refuses to blame the players themselves for it. If the money’s available to them, particularly if they come from a financially unstable background, income would obviously be a major factor in their college decision — and he’s willing not to look down on them for it. It’s all met with acceptance.
“A lot of people sit back and say, ‘Oh, it will go away. NCAA will fix it!’ O.K. Go ahead and wait,” he told SI. “As a coach and AD, you won’t be there. There will be a new coach and AD. It’s here. I don’t spend time like others, ‘How long is it here? How are they going to fix it!?’ I don’t care. It’s here…People tried to avoid it. ‘We’re not doing that crap!’ Almost all those people are out of jobs.”
Knowing the NCAA, he’s right — it will take ages to make any sort of change. He’s not pulling any punches on the reality of NIL. He knows that players are being paid to come in, and that there will be plenty of kinks in the system that will have to be worked out, and he also said he thinks that the gap in on-field performance will widen, at least temporarily, for the top schools. But at the same time, he knows that NIL isn’t going anywhere fast, and he’s dealing with it — quite frankly, a refreshing respite from the complainers, Saban included.
With everyone else lamenting about the past, he’s forging eyes wide open into the future of the sport. He reinvented himself right in time to be the face of the new guard of college football — that is, if he can win.