Lane Kiffin took the main stage at SEC Media Days to discuss the current landscape of college football as it pertains to name, image, and likeness (NIL) as well as the transfer portal.
Coming off of a season in which Ole Miss started off 7-0 before losing five of the next six games, the Rebels’ head coach spent minimal time discussing his roster and the upcoming schedule. Instead, Kiffin harped on current challenges coaches face with the evergrowing transfer portal and the model by which players are compensated financially.
Kiffin, who has been coined the “transfer portal king,” added 40 new scholarship players to his roster for the upcoming season. Nonetheless, he believes the constant overhauling of rosters via the portal will not be beneficial to programs like Ole Miss in the long run.
“I don’t think that’s really good for college football. These massive overhauls of rosters every year really are not in the best interest of college football,” Kiffin said. “When you add NIL at the same time, we’ve created, and I’ve said it before, we have different caps and no luxury taxes. Now we’ve got professional sports because that really is what we are.”
Though Kiffin refers to college football as a “professional sport,” he acknowledges that it is not regulated as such. Rather, the Ole Miss head coach argues that the current landscape of the sport enables a system in which the rich continue to get richer. He also called it a form of “legalized cheating.”
“There’s no caps on what guys can make or what team’s payrolls are, so when this first came out, I said basically whatever programs have the most aggressive boosters with the most money are going to get the players,” Kiffin continued.
“Now we’re adding some states that now you don’t have to follow NCAA [rules]. Now the university can take its money and give it to the collective to give to the players. Now we really have pay-for-play that the biggest schools with the most donors, the most aggressive, and the school that wants to spend the most money paying the players for play to come to their school is where we’re at.”
In terms of what Kiffin expects from his team in the 2023 season, he is optimistic the addition of Pete Golding as defensive coordinator will give the Rebels a much-needed boost on the defensive side of the ball.
“We’re really excited about that change and what he brings,” Kiffin said. “He’s ahead of the game, very intelligent, and a really great recruiter as well.”
Surprisingly, there was no mention of quarterback play during Kiffin’s time on the big stage. However, it is expected that returning starter Jaxson Dart will be the primary signal caller when the Rebels kick off the 2023 season on Sept. 2 against Mercer.