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The Kingdom NIL: Part II

How NIL has changed football recruiting for the UCF Knights.
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After taking a look at Part I of The Kingdom NIL package that UCF athletics director Terry Mohajir defined via Twitter recently, I wanted to share some of what’s on the other side of the spectrum with what UCF has been and will continue to battle with.

There has always been cheating in college football and college athletics overall. That stated, the cash that’s flowing now, especially within the gray area of Name, Image, and Likeness helping boosters that could care no less if they cheat, has made competing at the highest levels of college football tricky.

After a couple of years of communicating with sources from many different aspects of the high school football recruiting world, there have been two concerns that I personally have above all others. UCF and other schools that don’t just throw around NIL money carelessly have definitely seen the first point come to fruition.

One, many prospects have been making horrible college choices because they simply took the biggest upfront amount of money from NIL deals. Yes, that’s a major NCAA recruiting violation, but that has not stopped schools from doing it.

Prospects have sometimes even communicated with members of the recruiting media, albeit privately, that they wanted to sign with a different school but the final choice was based on the NIL package instead of where they truly wanted to play college football and go to school.

Stated in confidence, some recruits have literally been that upfront.

Sadly, parents and/or slimy street agents were involved in many of the deals and were looking out for their own best interests. It’s been nauseating. There was also the sheer volume of cash being tossed around.

That’s the second point, the six-figure deals have been common; so have many other illegal forms of inducements with NIL somehow attached to the deal for a prospect.

So how do the Knights compete?

It’s about being loyal to one’s own brand first and foremost. Keep in mind, a handful of these schools have struggled mightily even with the big NIL packages they offered to recruits. As a side note, the specific schools that offer upfront NIL packages goes far beyond what many may know. 

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Ironically, several of them absolutely sucked this past season. It was hilarious for me to personally watch.

Football has been and always will be about team chemistry. It’s 11 players on the field at onece that attempted to play together and wanted the team to succeed above all else. NIL took some of these college programs in the other direction. Their win-loss records reflected that because of the individual approach that NIL has brought to some of these schools.

Jealousy over which players got the big bucks, plus players that were never truly bought into that particular program, that’s been a problem for a portion of the programs throwing out big NIL deals.

Going forward, the Knights need patience. UCF still needs to continue to develop the talent it signs, build the Kingdom NIL package the right way, and that will allow the football program to grow over time. The wins will increase from there.

This will not likely be a quick process, mind you. More money will be needed to be dumped into The Kingdom NIL package. As in millions of dollars each year. The cost of facilities and coaching salaries alone made that statement true. NIL for players added to the cost.

If UCF fans want to see the Knights end up being a top 10 program like head coach Gus Malzahn and Mohajir intended in the first place, part of the price for UCF boosters will come from their wallets.

UCF boosters may not want to throw around the same amount of cash as boosters that represent other schools, but more cash must be thrown into the coffers moving forward.

Still, with UCF getting set to join the Big 12, and aside from NIL altogether, I also fully expect the future of Knights football to be very good. All the exposure of Power 5 football will completely change recruiting for the better.

Players like defensive tackle John Walker signing with the Knights will be far more the norm than the exception. UCF fans can bank on that.

To close, UCF needs to stick to the course, do things the right way, and good things will come with The Kingdom NIL helping to aid the Knights football program.

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