Georgia’s Kirby Smart sounds alarm on how NIL affects recruiting

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart sounded the alarm on incoming recruits in the era of name, image and likeness and college athletes getting paid.

Smart, who was at Georgia’s Pro Day to support the former Bulldogs stars who entered the NFL Draft and worked out in front of scouts to increase their stock, told reporters that the incoming crop of talent is looking to cash in on the opportunity of playing sports.


“It’s a great sell to the kids that will listen to it,” Smart said, via On3 Sports. “There is a lot of them that want to ask about NIL. They don’t want to ask about what your NFL players have done. I think it’s much more important how you develop players than how much NIL you can give them.”

Smart’s remarks came as former Alabama football coach Nick Saban assailed the importance of NIL over the last year. He revealed to ESPN earlier this month that it was a part of the reason why he retired. He said players were asking for “assurances” they were definitely going to play and “How much are you going to pay me?” Saban said the program was intended to build for the players’ futures and possible NFL careers.

“So I’m saying to myself, ‘Maybe this doesn’t work anymore, that the goals and aspirations are just different and that it’s all about how much money can I make as a college player,’” Saban added.

“I’m not saying that’s bad. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just saying that’s never been what we were all about, and it’s not why we had success through the years.”


Saban then talked about NIL in a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill earlier this week.

“All the things I’ve believed in for all these years – 50 years of coaching – no longer exist in college athletics,” Saban said when asked by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, if the “current chaos” in college sports led to his retirement. “It always was about developing players, always been about helping people be more successful in life.

“My wife even said to me – we have all the recruits over on Sunday with their parents for breakfast. She would always meet with the mothers and talk about how she was going to help impact their sons and how they would be well taken care of. She came to me right before I retired and said, ‘Why are we doing this?’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ She said, ‘All they care about is how much you’re going to pay them. They don’t care about how you’re going to develop them, which is what we’ve always done. So why are you doing this?’

“To me, that was sort of a red alert that we really are creating a circumstance here that is not beneficial to the young people, which is why I always did what I did. My dad did it, I did it. So that’s the reason I always like college athletics more than the NFL because you had the opportunity to develop young people.”

Saban also lamented the lack of competitive balance in the sport.

Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report.

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