Ask Mike: NIL/Portal Dealing, Volleyball Magic & What’s Wrong with Muss’ Guys?

By Mike Irwin
on 2023-12-11 18:47 PM

Q. With portal recruiting in full swing combined with the fact that many athletes are leaving one school for another with big money supposedly involved we have a lot of questions about NIL and the transfer portal.

Our first is from Marty Byrde’s proxy who says: When NIL first came into play, seems like businesses were paying athletes for their services or advertising. And schools were supposed to share in sales of merchandise using their name or likeness. Now schools are raising money specifically for NIL. Are they paying athletes directly now? Have the rules been changed or has NIL just taken on a life of it’s own?

A. The NCAA is not enforcing it’s main rul on NIL. That is you can’t use NIL’s to recruit. Tennessee and other states got their state leginlatues ot pass lawa stating that offering NIL money to high shcool or college players who want to transfer was perfectly legal. From that point on the NCAA has not tried to enforce that rule.

I think they’re making a huge mistake. As I’ve said before even before NIL it was never illegal to offer money to a player, high schoor or college. It was foridden if you wanted to belong to the NCAA. Those rules were approved by all of the member institutions decades ago because they did not want college athletics to become professional sports.

I’ve made this argument before and I will continue to make it. If I had enough land it would be perfectly legal for me to hit golf balls wearing no shoes, a T shirt and blue jeans. Try that at a country Club and even if I’m a member they can kick me out and revoke my membership. It’s legal for them to do that.

When a university like Texas A&M agress to be a part of NCAA athletics they agree to abide by predetermined rules. Break the rules and you can be punished. if you don’t want to follow those rules leave the NCAA and start your own organization.

I get it that athletes should get compensation beyond their scholarships if their school makes money off them selling products to fans. But that is a completely different situation from what we are seeing now. The open buyinf of players that’s eventually going to turn college athletics into something the average fan does not want. We’re already there actually.

Q. Pigsfeat asks: Do you think the universities that have been guilty of using specific NIL monetary offers to recruits will ever face penalties from the NCAA?

A. No. They’re scared of lawsuits. It looks like conference commissioners and several name coaches have decided that the best way to do this is to involve congress. There’s a lot skepticism that they will do anything meaningful but I’d trust them before the NCAA and that’s saying something.

Q. Parallaxpig wants to know: What are rules for giving NIL money to walk ons. Seems it would be easy to get around the 85 scholarship limit by getting a recruit to walk on with promise to give them NIL money to pay for college cost.

A. Great question and the answer is surprising. Yes, walkons can get NIL money and there’s nothing to stop a school from recruiting above the 85 limit by covering scholarship costs for walkons with NIL money.

Q. Whitewater wants to know: Where does Arkansas’ NIL program rank nationwide?

A. There are various rankings on the Internet. No way to know if they’re accurate because that information does not have to be made public. A lot of guessing I suspect.

Q. havok asks: With so many rumors of NIL Poaching/Tampering with players, what are the odds that some high profile player or players write a book, or big time interview to expose certain coaches/teams (with evidence) what really goes on behind all this?

A. I suppose it could happen. The problem is, with nobody enforcing the rules, what difference does it make if an athlete writes a tell all book? The NCAA has been bullied into submission and too many conference commisisoners, ADs and coaches and standing around waiting for somebody to do something. Books sell if they’re explosive or shocking. There would be nothing surprising about this. We now have the open buying of players. It’s not a secret.

Q. RazorAlex88 says: I was aghast by the poor display of journalism about KJ leaving when no decision was made. KJ had to clarify no decision was made. Of course KJ could decide at a later time to leave. The premature assumption was just unprofessional.

A. I’m sure that there was a good scorce that it was happening. I was hearing it and just chose no to go with it. Maybe KJ changed his mind. A lot of things could have happened. But to me the real story is, what’s going on with KJ? They’ve already brought in a transfer QB for a visit with the posisbility of another one. I don’t think you do that if you know that KJ is coming back.

Q. WVHogfan asks: Is there any specific reason why we had three linebackers to enter the transfer portal?

A. I can only tell you what I’ve heard. One of them left because he was mad about a lack of leadership on the team. Upset that too many players didn’t seem to care when Arkansas was getting steamrolled in front of its own fans. The other two linebackers were encouraged to leave because they didn’t give consistent effort.

Travis Williams is not only the defensive coordinator he’s the linebackers coach. He may be the best recruiter on the staff. He will bring in some good linebackers.

Q. DeWitt Razorback says: At the time of writing this, KJ still has not entered the portal. With each passing day are you getting more confidence that he may not be leaving? Have you heard any rumors from the insiders?

A. The only rumor I’ve heard is that his NIL will be reduced if he comes back and I don’t know if that’s true. I can’t imagine brning in a trafer QB for a visit if you know he’s coming back. So Sam either doesn’t know or what KJ is thinking or he knows that KJ is gone.

Q. Hogdogger says: There have been a few athletes like Nick Smith and Rocket Sanders that went out of state to pursue rehab for their injuries. Are there not qualified orthopedic therapists on campus to handle sports injuries? if not then why?

A. There are some excellent orthopedic physicians and therapists in NWA. But if they have an out of state agent some athletes go with somebody their agent recommends. I know that was the case with Nick Smith Jr. You have an LA based agent. You end up with an LA based Orthopedist.

Q. peakhog says: Seems like Week 2 of football season we were told that the new naming rights to Razorback Stadium were about to be released. Has it been pulled or just buried because of a horrible season?

A. I am told that there is no timetable but Hunter Yurachek will probably start exploring that possibility next year. The rights the current name runs out at the end of next June.

Q. CowHog32 wants to know: What’s up with the hoop Hogs this year? Great wins over Purdue & Duke but when we play outside of BWA we lay eggs. I keep hearing the excuses that they are new players adjusting to each other blah blah blah. What’s the real reason we are struggling?

A. It takes time to learn Muss’ system. Especially the defense. This happens every year. Also their schedule is tougher this year. Brazile and Mark are not fully recovered from their injuries. They came into the OU game averaging a combined 33 points a game. They scored eight against the Sooners.
They’ve got a stretch of games coming up where it will be more about practice and correcting mistakes. Mark and Brazile can get back to 100%. I think they’ll be fine.

Q. Mousetown asks: What’s the fallout going to be with the women losing to Arkansas Pine Bluff in basketball?

A. The fans don’t like it but the truth is could could play one of these in state teams 20 times, lose once and everybody is mad. What matters is SEC play, getting to the NCAA Tournament and winning a game there. That’s where the pressure is on this coaching staff.

Q. TL Slaten says: I was never a Volleyball fan but this year those girls got me hooked. They busted their butts. Sam Pittman needed to take his guys to watch. They could learn something about school pride.

A. It was a fun season to be sure with great crowds. I saw a lot of fans I see at football and basketball at those Volleyball games. Especially the two NCAA tournament games. You are right. When you see student athletes go all out match after match it catches on.

Q. MB Hog says: I’ve read on the Internet that the Razorbacks are known to have one of the top 5 WORST fan bases in the country. Is there any truth to this?

A. That’s such a subjective claim there is no way to measure somerthing like that. My guess is what you’re reading is a reaction to Arkansas’ fan base on social media. Based on what I read it’s nowhere near the worst. The best way to judge fans in in real life, not on the internet. As far as I’m concerned Arkansas is the best. I would not have stayed here for 48 years if that wasn’t true and yes, that’s a subjective opinion from me.

(Last updated: 2023-12-11 18:47 PM)