Isaiah Wong entering transfer portal if NIL not increased Friday

Mar 25, 2022; Chicago, IL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2022; Chicago, IL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports /

As initially reported by ESPN on Thursday night, Miami star guard Isaiah Wong is ready to enter the transfer portal if his Name, Image and Likeness compensation is not increased by Friday. Adam Papas the NIL agent for Wong discussed the frustration of the star guard and his family with ESPN on Thursday.

Isaiah Wong entered his name into the NBA Draft earlier this week with the possibility of returning to Miami for his fourth season in 2022-23. The recent two-year $800K deal plus the use of a car for Kansas State Nijel Pack to transfer to Miami from Miami booster’ John Ruiz’s company Life Wallet made Wong feel disrespected.

As one of the stars of the first Miami team to reach the Elite Eight, Wong wants to be compensated the same as what incoming Miami players are receiving. Miami has signed 11 players in football, also added forward Norchard Omier and the women’s basketball team signed twins Haley and Hana Cavinder.

The Cavinders already were worth over $1 million in NIL with a social media following of over five million across platforms.  Papas also represents Pack and helped negotiate his deal with Miami and Ruiz. Ruiz also helped Miami sign UCLA football transfers defensive end Mitchell Agude and linebacker Caleb Johnson.

"“If Isaiah and his family don’t feel that the NIL number meets their expectations they will be entering the transfer portal tomorrow (Friday), while maintaining his eligibility in the NBA draft and going through the draft process…Isaiah would like to stay at Miami…He had a great season leading his team to the Elite Eight.He has seen what incoming Miami Hurricane basketball players are getting in NIL and would like his NIL to reflect that he was a team leader of an Elite Eight team…”It’s a unique situation just completing Nijel Pack’s deal with Miami….Understanding what John Ruiz is trying to do with the NIL space and the city of Miami, we feel the value of Isaiah Wong should meet or exceed the value of an incoming transfer.”"

Papas told the above to ESPN. Not all of the deals with Ruiz and Life Wallet are disclosed publically per the athlete’s request. Ruiz told ESPN he will not renegotiate the NIL deal signed with Wong. The deadline for players to enter the transfer portal and maintain eligibility for the 2022-23 season is May 1, which is Sunday.

"“Isaiah is under contract…He has been treated by LifeWallet exceptionally well. If that is what he decides, I wish him well, however, I DO NOT renegotiate! I cannot disclose the amount, but what I can say is that he was treated very fairly.”"

Ruiz told the above to ESPN. The threat by Wong is likely the first publically in what could become common and create negotiations between athletes, boosters and the athletic programs that by law cannot be directly involved. Wong’s is similar to a professional athlete requesting a trade without a renegotiated contract.

The difference is that Wong specifically and college athletes, in general, have the upper hand with the freedom to transfer once without sitting out an entire year. Papas told the Miami Herald on Friday that the deal with Ruiz is not exclusive and Wong can pursue other NIL transactions.

Isaiah Wong declares for NBA Draft could return to Miami basketball. dark. Next

Athletic programs previously held all the power over college athletes. The legalization of NIL and the one-time transfer rule without an athlete sitting out have provided athletes with more flexibility to pursue what is in their own interests. Many believe athletes now have too much power. NIL will continue to evolve.