Lane Kiffin Says Recruiting Has Turned Into 'Free Agency' With New NIL Rules

As Lane Kiffin prepares his team to face Baylor in the upcoming Sugar Bowl, he's also tasked with making sure the Rebels finish strong in recruiting. Kiffin didn't hold back when it came to what he thinks college football recruiting has turned into. We all know that the new NIL rules have changed the landscape of recruiting, but Lane Kiffin is finally talking about what it really is.

During his weekly press conference in Oxford, Kiffin was asked for his thoughts on how the new NIL rules have changed the landscape of recruiting.

"I don't think people really say it this way, but let's not make a mistake, we have free agency in college football," Kiffin said. "And the kids go to where they're going to pay the most. No one else is saying that maybe, but if the kid says, 'This is what I'm getting here for NIL.' It is what it is. Free agency has been created in college football...except you can't lock people into a contract. They can go at any time. It's a new world that we're in. Sometimes they want to come to you and say, 'I get this much money if I go there.' This is just a whole new thing to deal with."

Kiffin also noted it's difficult to manage a class, while having to wait for players in the portal, while also dealing with recruiting high school kids. This alone makes managing a roster difficult, especially when some players are being promised certain things from different schools. He also pointed out that even JUCO coaches are starting to take notice, because schools are now using their spots for transfer players, not Junior College players, like in years past.

The NCAA has given schools the extra scholarships, but their are still hardships that come with it, according to Kiffin.

"(The NCAA) did give relief this year with the extra ones,” Kiffin said. “And getting out on the road, there is a lot of frustration with junior college coaches and high school coaches, because they feel like kids that were right on the verge of getting offers and going places that were at the bottom of the class, just now aren't. Because people aren't...they're using them up on transfers. So now they've got high school kids with nowhere to go where they would have had places.

"Like anything, usually when you create something to solve this issue over here it creates other issues. There's a lot of issues with it," Kiffin added. "You've got your own guys, and now you're dealing with guys...they want to go...but you still want them to play in the game or practice and stuff. Now we really have guys in the free agency market going around to visits that are still practicing and playing here. At least in the NFL there's free agent contracts, so they know what it is when you sign it, versus these places saying 'hey, when you come here you're going to get this much money' and when they get there, do they really get it, it ain't a contract. So, very new world."

Kiffin also had this to say in regards to not going down certain roads when it comes to promising NIL deals.

"We're not gonna sit here and make promises that you're gonna come here and get this much money, cause once they're signed or locked in to go there, but they're not getting the money. So, we're kinda staying out of that world that other people are going into."

The new rules have definitely changed college football, but lets not forget the times when coaches move on to other jobs, at the drop of a dime. I imagine it can be stressful for staffs across the country, but coaches have been playing the game as well, just in a different sandbox.

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Trey Wallace is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series. Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football "Credit Card Scandal" along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt. Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.