Mark Stoops took a shot at Georgia football last night in his call-in show. I am a little late to this story because bigger things were happening in the world, like Game 2 of the NLDS (what a game by the Bravos). But last night, I saw Stoops make these comments, and I was baffled by them. Here is the video for context:
Now, I have to give the perspective of the Georgia fan about this, but I will touch on the entire comments made because Stoops whiffed on this one. It ultimately failed to read the room. From a Georgia perspective, he is wrong. Georgia and Kirby Smart do not get into buying players. Georgia has lost multiple elite kids because they did not do the N.I.L. song and dance with them. Georgia lost a 5-star wideout committed to Georgia for months because Miami paid more money. Kirby Smart has always said that he does not use N.I.L. to recruit players and says it is a red flag for him.
Smart would rather have players who want to attend the school because they love it and want to be developed to go to the NFL. To my knowledge, Georgia has never gotten a player because they throw money bags at them. I am sure rival fanbases throw those accusations out there because they are not getting the level of talent Georgia is getting. All those 4 and 5-star players are coming to Athens because they know they will play for a winner and have a chance to be developed into an NFL player.
After the past few drafts, it is not hard to see that Georgia is a place to get to the next level. Kentucky is not. Do Georgia players get N.I.L. deals because they play at Georgia? Yes! But it is precisely that; they get N.I.L. deals because they play at Georgia, and the money comes after, not before they commit. Most schools offer a player a bag of money to sign on the dotted line, not Georgia. You have to sign the dotted line and play to get the money. So, in short, Mark Stoops looks petty and dumb about his comments toward Georgia. It’s pretty simple math, buddy.
From Kentucky said of things, this is just poor timing. First, you have lost to Georgia 14 years in a row, and Stoops is 0-11 against the Dawgs. So why were you losing to them before N.I.L.? Then your coach, after getting beat 51-13 as an undefeated top-25 team, is asking fans to give more money? Why would I give you more money if we are losing?
The gap between Georgia and Kentucky has narrowed, but it is still large enough that Georgia hangs a 50 burger on you. Plus, why are fans asked to give more money to the program? They already pay ridiculous amounts to watch you and support the school they love, and you are begging for more? What? Rightfully, Kentucky fans were not pleased by Stoops’s comments.
We are at a crossroads in college sports, and nobody wants to fix its problems. N.I.L. is taking away the spirit of college football. I have no problem with players getting paid; they should have been paid years ago. But all these radical changes in college football, like conference realignment, are because of N.I.L. I am not sure what the solution will be; I am sure, given the NCAA track record, it will suck, but this needs to be figured out before it is too late. Because if more coaches make comments like Stoops did, fans will be turned off by it.