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Let's Talk About This Report That Miami's Isaiah Wong Is Going To The Transfer Portal If His NIL Compensation Isn't Increased

There's a lot going on here and I'm going to do my best to keep all these thoughts concise and to the point. Going to be tough because there are a million talking points here.

 First, this isn't the first guy to do this, just the first to have something said publicly. I don't blame Isaiah Wong, at least not in terms of the order of where the blame goes. 

The first blame goes to the NCAA. That's just a fact. They had years to put a plan in action and instead waited for Congress to try and bail them out only to put them in this situation. Shocking, I know. But that's the fact. Mark Emmert, the entire NCAA, however you want to classify it. They fucked up from the get go. Everyone knew NIL was going to be a thing at some point. Instead of having some sort of plan of action they did jackshit and that might be putting it politely. Like anything else in life stop waiting for people to try and fix shit for you. All the coaches complaining about NIL and transfer portal, that's who you should be mad at. Not the athletes 'quitting' or 'not fighting' or whatever lazy ass similar take you have. You should be mad at the NCAA for letting it get to this without any plan of action. 

The second person to blame here is John Ruiz. He's the Miami superbooster that is publicly announcing details of NIL shit. What are you doing dude? He didn't have to announce the moment that Nijel Pack was going to transfer to Miami he was getting this deal (h/t ESPN)

Papas says he recently negotiated an NIL deal for Kansas State transfer Nijel Pack that included $800,000 over two years plus a car. Pack was considered the No. 1 player in the transfer portal before committing to Miami. The deal was funded by billionaire John Ruiz, who has been at the forefront of the NIL movement, orchestrating deals across several sports. Among them are deals with women's college basketball twins Haley and Hanna Cavinder -- who transferred from Fresno State to Miami -- and UCLA football transfers Caleb Johnson and Mitchell Agude.

Ruiz has 111 deals signed or pending with Hurricanes athletes to promote his companies, LifeWallet and Cigarette Racing, according to a report in the Miami Herald on Wednesday.

And, hey, sure we can make the joke that this is just The U being The U. That's fine and dandy until this went public and everyone started losing their shit in hyperbolic fashion one way or another. It's also asinine to think that these sort of deals weren't happening before NIL. It's why the whole thing is a mess. I'm firmly on the side that NIL is a good thing. Players deserve to make money off their name, likeness and image. Everything is pay-for-play. The NIL deals were always pay-for-play because you're clearly going to get have more opportunities to get paid at big name schools or unique schools like Oregon with the Nike background. 

Here's the other part. Isaiah Wong can hit the transfer portal. He can want to get paid like Nijel Pack or whatever other deal is out there. People don't have to pay him though. That's the whole part of the NIL deal. You get paid what someone deems you're worth. For Miami it's an insane amount of money that Ruiz is paying out. I love Isaiah Wong's game. He helped lead Miami to an Elite Eight. But what if everyone in the country just says like yeah, hey, we think $200,000 for this deal is fair. 

I keep saying this too with the portal. The goal for these guys is to 1) set up their future as best as possible and 2) make as much money in their peak as possible. That's a no-brainer for quite literally anyone in the world. You go to college to figure out your future. For a handful of these guys it's pro basketball, whether it's the NBA, G League or overseas. For others it's being really fucking good college players that are trying to capitalize on what people want to pay them when they are marketable. The portal is an access to doing that because not everyone is recruited correctly. Some people outplay recruiting evaluations. It happens. 

 The fact of the matter is no college sports isn't dying. It's being exposed for what it's been for decades upon decades. There's more money than ever involved, sure, but uh yeah it's 2022. Of course there's more money involved now than in the 2000s and 90s and 60s with Sam Gilbert, etc. I never understood why people truly care if a college kid is making money or not. We cheer for the name on the front of the jersey because you went to that school, your parents went to that school, you grew up around that school or whatever other reason. Everything is now in the open. We'll see what happens with this Wong situation and if more become public. 

There's no simple solution here. That's why whoever the NCAA hires to replace Mark Emmert needs to be someone who can make decisions and start to lead something. Just figure out something and get it in stone instead of leaving it up to this weird wild west.