Former University of Wisconsin football coach and athletic director Barry Alvarez said he is "very concerned” about the impact NIL policy has had on boosters and the recruiting process in college sports.
Alvarez discussed NIL changes among several topics during his appearance Wednesday on ESPN Wisconsin's "Wilde and Tausch," as reported by madison.com.
“The NCAA gives us no leadership, and I sat in the room last week with 14 very, very disappointed and frustrated football coaches," said Alvarez, who now serves as special adviser for football in the Big Ten. "They want to know, what do we do in recruiting?
“There are things written that you can't have an outside party involved in recruitment. You can't use enticements in the NIL to recruit somebody. Yet you read every day about different schools and different alumni putting all this money forward to recruit someone, and it's illegal. And so the coaches are saying, 'Do we do it and jeopardize — if we get fired, do you get fired with cause? Or if we don't do it, we keep falling further and further behind?’ ”
Alvarez said someone needs to emerge to watch over infractions. The NCAA Division I Board of Directors took steps earlier this week, unveiling "guidance" regarding NIL and recruiting that went into effect Monday.
"Specifically, the guidance defines as a booster any third-party entity that promotes an athletics program, assists with recruiting or assists with providing benefits to recruits, enrolled student-athletes or their family members,” the NCAA said in its news release. "The definition could include 'collectives' set up to funnel name, image and likeness deals to prospective student-athletes or enrolled student-athletes who might be considering transferring.
"NCAA recruiting rules preclude boosters from recruiting and/or providing benefits to prospective student-athletes.”
Alvarez brought up a couple ideas about how to operate more efficiently, starting with reminding programs of the guidelines. Allowing student-athletes to partake in NIL activities, whether appearances, commercials or social media influence, is acceptable once those players come to the university.
“But for guys just to give money to entice recruits, you got to get it out of the recruiting first,” Alvarez said. “And then I think things could level out. But you've got to punish those who violate. That'd be the first thing you have to do.”
Alvarez also thinks there are schools currently tampering with student-athletes at other college programs, something he said cannot be allowed to continue.
“They’re not doing much of anything," Alvarez said. "Somewhere along the line, there has to be some leadership, and you can't worry about court rulings. You're gonna get sued. So be it.
“We have attorneys. You just let it happen, but you've got rules. You can make rules about tampering and about not allowing NIL to be involved in recruiting and not allowing someone outside of campus to be involved in the offers or bidding wars.”