Lane Kiffin’s first bowl season press conference turns to transfer portal
The 8th-ranked Ole Miss Rebels hit the training ground under sunny skies and warm temperatures on Monday to begin preparations for their battle with the Baylor Bears on New Years Eve. Ole Miss (10-2, 6- 2 SEC) and Baylor (11-2, 7-2 Big 12) face off at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
The whole practice was open to the media. The Rebels looked refreshed and rejuvenated after more than two weeks of layoff following a 31-21 victory over Mississippi State on Thanksgiving night.
“It was really good to be back there,” Ole head coach Miss Lane Kiffin said. “The players were excited. I think … kind of like we’ve said a lot throughout the year … we have a really special team, cool players who love to train, love to be together. It was pretty good, after recruiting and after that hiatus, everything that was going on, being back there was great today. “
It appears that no player has withdrawn from the Rebels’ bowl game. Everyone expected to be in uniform for training was there.
The press conference took a tough turn on the NCAA transfer portal, a topic Kiffin was more than willing to discuss.
The transfer portal has changed the way college football programs have to recruit. The current cycle really provides coaches with their first full portal dose and the challenges of merging what essentially amounts to free agency in their recruiting classes. Ole Miss has had transfer portal players on official visits each of the past two weekends.
“I don’t think people really put it that way, but make no mistake, we have free will in college football,” Kiffin said. “And the kids go where they’re going to pay the most. Nobody else might say it, but if the kid says, ‘This is what I get here for NIL. “That is what it is. Free agency was created in college football … except you can’t lock people into a contract. They can leave at any time. It’s a new world. Sometimes they want to come up to you and say, ‘I get that much money if I go.’ It’s just a whole new thing to deal with. “
With “free agency” now added to the mix, what could be the unintended consequences?
(The NCAA) relieved this year with the extras. And coming out on the road, there’s a lot of frustration with the middle and high school coaches because they feel like kids who were about to become the ones. offers and places to go that were at the bottom of the class earlier are not. Because people are not … they use them for transfers. So now they have high school kids with nowhere to go where they would have had places. Like everything, usually when you create something to fix this problem here, it creates other problems. There are a lot of problems with that. You have your own guys, and now you’re dealing with guys … they want to go … but you still want them to play in the game or practice etc.
Kiffin said an Ole Miss roster missed practice Monday while on an official visit to another program. He did not identify the player.
“At least when you have free agent contracts they know what it is and they have to sign it … When you come here you’re going to make so much money and when they get there they get it. are really getting … their contract. So a whole new world, “Kiffin continued.
How competitive can Ole Miss be compared to the NIL arena?
“You can just talk about what people got, but we can’t lead it. And we’re not going to sit here and promise that you’ll come here and make that much money, because once signed and they’re locked up to go, but they don’t get the money. We kind of stay out of this world that other people go in, “Kiffin said.
Does the transfer portal decrease on signing day and extend the recruiting cycle to spring and beyond?
“I think that’s absolutely the case,” Kiffin said, “because there isn’t a transfer signing day. They’re not singing a NIL anymore because they’ve already signed one. There’s not really a system in place to say, “Hey, okay, here they’re all going to sign on Wednesday. They always go, they will continue and I’m sure they will come in after their bowl games. I mean every day someone new comes in. I don’t think the signing day will be as big as it used to be.
“It’s basically your draft class, but then you’re going to have your free agent class. It’s just going to be really different, and there won’t be a date to know your free agents. Free agency is not going to happen. Our departure center showed up in August or whatever. New deal. “