LSU Coach Will Wade Says NCAA Proposed NIL Plan Ultimately Lies in the Details

With two transfers on board, Wade hopes to have both available for the beginning of the season

On Wednesday, the NCAA released its proposed plan for student athletes to benefit off their name, image and likeness. It was an unprecedented move that was a positive step but also faces many harsh critics from congress.

SI's Ross Dellenger spoke with multiple members of congress to carve out the overall reaction to the plan and the term "antitrust" was a popular point of conversation.

Most lawmakers who spoke to Sports Illustrated on Wednesday quickly debunked the possibility of an antitrust exemption—which would protect the NCAA from NIL legal entanglements—painting the topic as a non-starter and a waste of time.

The general consensus of the NCAA's plan was perhaps best described by Florida Republican state house member Chip LaMarca.

"I feel like every time they take a stab at it they make it more difficult and confusing,” he says. “To me, it looks like they’re just protecting what they have. They’re going to protect the kingdom.”

During a media teleconference call on Thursday, LSU basketball coach Will Wade offered his thoughts on the proposed plan, saying that ultimately any kind of real change will lie in the details.

"From what I understand and from what I've read, I don't think the NCAA has really hammered through a lot of the details," Wade said. "I think it's a good first step and we just have to see where things play out down the stretch here. The devil's going to be in the details with how it's all handled. Anything that's good for the athlete we're obviously in favor of but now we just have to follow it and see how it moves forward."

The NCAA also released a statement Thursday that the Board of Governors will be advising the council to delay a decision for the one-time waiver for transfer athletes. 

"The board agreed to lift the moratorium on transfer legislation for the 2020-21 legislative cycle but recommended to the Council that changes to the waiver process as suggested by the working group are not appropriate at this time. Board members recommended the waiver process be sensitive to student-athlete well-being, especially those impacted by COVID-19 in the interim period."

Back in February, the council proposed a plan that would allow student athletes that competed in sports such as men's basketball and baseball a one-time waiver transfer that would make them eligible immediately as opposed to having to sit out a year due to transfer rules.

This has a direct effect on Wade and the basketball program, who signed two transfers, Josh Leblanc out of Georgetown ans Shareef O'Neal from UCLA, that could delay their eligibility with the program.

"It sounds like the transfer rule is going to stay into effect for right now which would put us in a waiver situation, something we've been preparing for," Wade said. "We're certainly hopeful that we'll have both of them for the season when we tip off in November, but if we don't we'd have them in early December.

"They're both very talented players and guys we're counting on to help us this season."

Because there's that chance Leblanc and O'Neal could have their debuts delayed until December, Wade said the team is still looking for one more big man to help fill out the roster. Wade reiterated during Thursday's call that if things break roster wise like he and the coaching staff think, LSU will be in serious contention to make a run next year in the NCAA tournament.

"It'd look like a major contender on a national scale," Wade said. "That's what we're after and that's what we're very, very close to doing. I think we'll have a team that competes at the top of the SEC and in the top-10 to 15 nationally. I think if things break like we hope we could have three double digit SEC starters and scorers back and if you add [our recruiting class] you're in real business now."