It’s not easy keeping it real.
To hear college football coaches tell it, the sport is in dire straits.
Nick Saban says the game’s direction is unsustainable. Dabo Swinney bemoaned the lack of rules and guidance regarding player endorsements, telling ESPN that the situation surrounding name, image and likeness dollars is “out of control.” Kirby Smart worries fans will be turned off by athletes making decisions based on NIL deals.
I’ll buy that some of this handwringing is rooted in genuine concern for the future of the sport, but here’s the part coaches leave out amid their airing of grievances: Coaches are the people most negatively affected by evolutions that occurred within college football in the past year. But coaches aren’t admitting that…
There’s also never been a more challenging time to be a college coach.
Allowing athletes to freely transfer makes building a sturdy depth chart a chore. A player can be here today, gone tomorrow. Athletes may hunt for a destination they believe will yield the most lucrative endorsement deals. Meanwhile, although NIL changes were designed to allow college athletes to profit off their fame and not to influence recruiting decisions, endorsements undeniably are affecting recruiting, although to what degree remains unclear…
These changes erode coaches’ ability to control everything and everyone around them, and if you’ve ever spent much time around college football coaches, you know many of them are control freaks.
Being a college football coach in 2022 presents more hurdles and frustrations than the job carried a decade ago.
If coaches admitted that evolution was at the heart of their grumblings, I’d have a firmer stomach for their gripes.
You mean like this?
“First of all, you have to handle them with kid gloves because if you’re really tough and rough on them sometimes, they’ll leave,” Stallings said. “And they can leave without a penalty. They can go and be eligible immediately. I think the NCAA made a mistake when they allowed a player to transfer and play immediately. I think they made a mistake when they allowed them to transfer for no reason. That’s just a personal opinion.”
Empowerment’s a bitch. Ah, for the good old days when a player was just expected to take it for the team… er, coach.