William & Mary Football Coach Says Degree Is Reason Why Defensive Monster Didn’t Take More NIL Money To Transfer

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NIL money continues to drive success in college football, but William & Mary defensive star John Pius has a very different outlook on his career both on and off of the gridiron. He isn’t concerned about the money now because it is going to come later, whether he plays in the NFL or not.

Pius, a redshirt junior, committed to the Tribe in the Class of 2021. The in-state recruit stood 6-foot-2, just 195 pounds when he arrived to campus in Williamsburg.

Now, entering his third season at William & Mary, Pius has beefed up to 235 pounds and is one of the most dominant players on the FCS level.

His 72 tackles, 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss in 2022 led him to be named the Coastal Athletic Association’s Defensive Player of the Year and earned him All-American honors. He finished second in voting for the Buck Buchanan Award, which is given to the best defensive player in the FCS.

Pius eats dudes alive. It’s so fun to watch.

As a result of his play, he could have gone anywhere in the country.

John Pius decided to finish out his college football career at William & Mary.

NIL and the transfer portal go hand-in-hand. It is nearly impossible for FCS, Group of Five, and low-tier Power Five programs to keep their top talent from leaving to get paid more money at a bigger school.

Trent Dilfer has been extremely vocal about his plans to prevent that exact situation.

It is happening on every level and coaches are infuriated by the ongoings.

Pius was one of the players that an FBS program would have liked to have poached. The market for high-quality pass-rushers is limited and their value is high.

Except he wasn’t for sale.

Pius was not going to leave William & Mary. His reasoning was two-fold:

  • Pius values the Tribe’s winning football atmosphere.
  • Pius wants a degree from William & Mary, one of the top academic schools in the country.

His head coach, Mike London, offered a badass quote for why players, like Pius, choose to stay.

So you can make $5,000, $8,000, $10,000 somewhere else through NIL. Or you can get a Master’s degree here and earn six figures.

— William & Mary head football coach Mike London, via Richmond Times-Dispatch

Mic drop. Get paid now or get a (potentially free) degree at William & Mary and make bank later.

Now, as badass as London’s quote might be, NIL attorney Mit Winter made a good point”

Why not make some NIL money AND get the W&M Masters degree?

NIL and academics aren’t mutually exclusive. They’re often complimentary.

— Mit Winter, NIL attorney at Kennyhertz Perry LLC

True. Very true.

However, a school like William & Mary (Winter’s alma mater) may not have the NIL funds to compete with bigger schools on the FCS or FBS level. In that case, as London said and Pius epitomized, it is worth considering whether the degree and its payout down the road takes precedence over instant NIL paychecks.

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.

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