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Rutgers basketball saw its leading scorer from 2022/23 hit the portal as a graduate transfer earlier this week. The exact reason for his departure is unclear, but financial opportunity was, and is, a factor.
Cam Spencer played his first three years at Loyola-Maryland before transferring to play in Piscataway. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged a team-high 13.2 points per game with 3.8 boards, 3.1 assists and 2.0 steals last season.
Now, even though he was not considered a flight risk after just one year in New Jersey, Spencer is in the portal once again. He made a business decision, and it is a big blow to the roster.
Multiple sources confirmed to NJ.com, and others, that Spencer received a compensatory package for his Name, Image and Likeness that he could not turn down from a “yet-to-be revealed suitor that was desperate for talent.” NIL money was the reason that Spencer left. It was the motivating factor.
Essentially, Spencer left the Scarlet Knights for a higher bidder.
Former Rutgers star Ron Harper Jr. called it tampering. Many, if not most folks would agree.
Tampering, lying, n cheating one helluva combo!!— Ron Harper Jr. (@__RHJR) May 19, 2023
That is the reality of the role that NIL plays in the modern era. Programs with larger financial pools from which to pull often land top talent over schools that cannot afford those players.
Spencer is just the most recent of many examples.
Rutgers needs more money.
In wake of Spencer’s departure, the Scarlet Knights’ top NIL arm is pleading for more money just to stay competitive. Otherwise, Rutgers will continue to get passed over.
Joe Newman, president of the ‘Knights of the Raritan‘ NIL collective does not often speak to its operations. He doesn’t share how much the collective has raised, and he doesn’t share the amount of money paid out to athletes already.
However, after losing Spencer to a program with deeper pockets, Newman spoke to NJ.com and put a public price tag on what he believes is necessary, annually, to keep top athletes and remain competitive in football, men’s and women’s basketball, and wrestling. His rough estimate is based on conversations with staffers within each program, and people in similar positions at other schools.
Rutgers needs to raise $10 million— every single year.
The breakdown is as follows:
- $6-7 million for football
- $2 million for men’s basketball
- Everything else for other programs.
Newman added that the $10 million goal is not meant to scare people. He also compared the allocation process to managing a salary cap.
We have a very open line of communication with coaches and staff, they know how much money Knights of the Raritan have available to them. We collaborate with them on deals that make sense on the direction they want to go, but there is not like there is a ton of money sitting around, waiting for a particular player.
It is much more limited based on the fact that folks have given primarily to football, some to men’s basketball, some to all sports, and we do our best to prioritize where that money should go […]
It is like managing a salary cap.— Joe Newman, via NJ.com
Amateur sports are no longer amateur. While that has been the case for quite some time, it is more prevalent than ever in the NIL era. Schools with more money are able to have more success in both recruiting and retention.
Rutgers needs $10 million to be competitive. Imagine what that number looks like at other programs across the country.