Miami football legend Michael Irvin calls NIL Wild West

Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

Name, image and likeness is changing college athletics. Players are now able to secure compensation for endorsing businesses or products. Miami football legend Michael Irvin spoke to Nick Kosko of 247 Sports. Irvin described to Kosko the importance of athletes making the right name, image and likeness decisions.

Many Miami football players and other Hurricanes athletes have signed name, image and likeness deals. The majority of those deals have been with Miami alums. The criticism across college athletics is the genuineness of deals that alums make with the athletes at their schools. Alums are only targeting athletes at their alma maters.

BYU and Miami were both investigated last year for NLI deals made with their athletes. Those investigations brought criticism that other schools were not questioned. The hiring of Mario Cristobal as head coach is expected to increase the opportunities for Miami football players to profit off of name, image and likeness.

Irvin discusses Alabama quarterback Bryce Young who signed contracts worth over $1 million in name, image and likeness last August before the 2021 season started. Young led Alabama to an SEC Championship, won the Heisman Trophy and an appearance in the College Football National Championship Game.

"“Yeah this is crazy man…This is the wild west. And everybody thinks, ‘Oh, that’s great players get paid. There’s a lot of decisions in that.’ You get a guy like Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. You got to now understand, you’re a businessman, not just a businessman, you’re a business by yourself.So let’s make sure you’re not selling your business short. If I’m a college student, (I don’t want) somebody to come up and give me a $5,000 car deal. OK, because you understand now you may have taken your name out of that category where somebody had a million dollar deal down the road.So don’t take pennies, don’t step over dollars, to get those pennies. I think that (players) have to make sure they navigate and be careful with it.”"

After winning the Heisman Trophy and leading Alabama to a 13-2 season, Young will have far more name, image and likeness opportunities during the 2022 offseason. Major Miami booster John Ruiz signed at least 17 Hurricanes football players to contracts to promote his businesses according to the Miami Herald.

The Miami football players will also have to participate in community service events as part of their contracts. Miami athletes who signed with Ruiz and his companies all have representation. With NIL college athletes are now allowed to have agents represent them in their opportunities.

Irvin provided good advice to the athletes in their NIL deals. Players need to watch out for themselves and make sure they are not being taken advantage of. The opening of NIL is going to bring in a lot of people who want to get closer to college athletic programs and take advantage of athletes.

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Irvin has about 40 years of experience being an elite athlete. The Pro Football Hall of Famer has nearly 40 years as an elite athlete. As a high-profile athlete, Irvin knows about people who have wanted to take advantage of his interests. The process of NIL will continue to evolve. Regulations will change what athletes are allowed to accept.