Bottom line, Georgia football does NIL deals the right way

Jul 20, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart talks to the media during SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 20, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart talks to the media during SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Georgia football is setting the example on how NIL deals and the student-athletes that get them should work.

Regardless of what that ESPN article said about head coach Kirby Smart and his thoughts on the NIL situation, what he said at SEC Media Days was far more accurate. Too many individuals took the comments he made in Texas out of context and forgot to tune into this presser to educate themselves on what he meant.

Smart and the Classic City Collective are taking the right approach to NIL deals because they also teach these student-athletes about financial responsibilities.

He wants players that want to wear the Red and Black to come to the program. Nowhere did Smart say that he doesn’t think kids should be paid for their name, image and likeness. The right way to do it is through sustainability and education.

Smart had the highest-paid defensive lineman in Jordan Davis, the highest-paid tight end Brock Bowers and the highest-paid cornerback in Kelee Ringo. His players are making money despite the criticism some “experts” give him.

Georgia football does NIL deals the right way for long-term success.

People can take what Smart said before SEC Media Days and contort it however they like, but those are the ones who refuse to educate themselves. Smart has 95 players, scholarships, and walk-ons with some kind of NIL deal.

Are they all the same amount? No, and while it’s easy to say it should be equal, it’s up to the companies to reach agreements with players.

These deals allow players like Dan Jackson to pay for his college education while also playing football. It also allows another player to help his father pay for dialysis, so he doesn’t have to sacrifice his football career to go home and support his father — the NIL deal helps with that.

Having 95 players with deals is what a successful NIL collective looks like, and it’s how it should happen across the country.

"“So NIL can be a good thing and they can learn to manage money at a young age,” Smart said during his SEC Media Days press conference. “But to use it as inducement to get a young man to go to your school is not good for anybody or the game. I don’t have the answer for how to guardrail that, but NIL has been good to Georgia and it’s been good to our players and it will continue to be.”"

What I can assume Smart means by paying kids to play ball for them isn’t how NIL collectives should work. He brought up whether or not schools can honor those commitments to the players they’re trying to convince to play for them?

Smart is in no way saying kids shouldn’t get paid, but he is taking a different strategy than other schools. And while a lot of this is speculation because no one can really confirm or deny some of these accusations, reading between the lines — it’s pretty clear what some programs are doing.

Just because Georgia doesn’t offer massive NIL deals to 17-18-year-old kids out of the gate doesn’t mean they don’t support their players getting paid.

It just means that the Dawgs are taking a different approach and want to find kids that genuinely want to play for Georgia.

Teaching the players about financial responsibilities will help them grow their assets, have money after football and create long-term wealth.

Football doesn’t last forever, but knowing how to budget your money, save it, and everything else is a lesson they can carry with them forever.

There are a lot of players who blow that NFL money because they don’t know any better, but if they can learn in college how to be responsible, then they can live that dream, help their families and change their lives.

Of course, not all do this, but it’s still an inevitable lesson that players should learn.

People forget that these are student-athletes, and while football is king, getting that degree and having something they can turn to after football is integral to Smart and his coaching staff’s job descriptions.

They are mentors, coaches, friends, father figures, and anything else they need to be for these players, so doing NIL deals like this truly allows them a better chance at long-term success.

Georgia football and Smart are about developing these young men on and off the football field so they can succeed in whatever life gives them.

If that isn’t how the NIL system should work, it’s missing the mark.

Hot. Georgia football: Kirby Smart got the backed-up Brinks truck he deserved. light

Georgia set the example and standard for NIL deals. They are showing college football how you can recruit successfully without offering an arm and a leg but still get that life-changing money once you’re in the program.