Mack Brown Says Schools Are Offering His Players Money To Enter The Transfer Portal And Leave UNC | “People That Are Tampering With Guys On Your Team”

University of North Carolina head football coach Mack Brown says the transfer portal, and specifically how some players are incentivized to enter, are problems that need to be stopped. Brown doesn’t mind players seeking better opportunities, but he’s wary of nefarious actors who might influence them.

“One of the real issues we’ve got in college football, I feel, is people that are tampering with guys on your team and paying them money to leave,” Brown said at a news conference last week ahead of UNC’s 39-10 ACC championship game loss to Clemson on Saturday. “And it’s an issue that needs to get stopped.”

With the emergence of NIL deals it’s difficult for schools to determine if their players are being targeted with pay-for-play deals disguised as NIL.

This was bound to happen. College football and basketball players should be paid because they generate a lot of revenue for these schools. But with no regulation on these deals, the schools with the deepest-pocketed boosters will find a way to come out on top. Like they were before NIL deals were legal. At the end of the day it still comes down to who has the most money and is willing to spend it to secure players.

Brown has at least two players entering the transfer portal, junior cornerbacks Tony Grimes and Storm Duck.

Grimes was a five-star prospect out of high school and reclassified from the 2021 class to 2020 to enroll a year early at North Carolina. He played in 12 games his freshman year and had one interception and four pass breakups. He started all 13 games in 2021 and earned All-ACC honorable mention after posting nine pass breakups. He had 36 total tackles and seven pass breakups in 12 games this season and will be one of the best defensive backs on the transfer market.

Duck played in all 13 games his freshman season in 2019 with nine starts. He had two interceptions and five pass breakups that year along with 37 total tackles. He missed most of the 2020 season because of an injury and played in six games during the 2021 campaign. He started in all 12 games this past season  and had 46 total tackles, three interceptions and nine pass breakups.

Brown told the reporters he talks to his players regularly about whether or not they’re being approached to enter the transfer portal.

“I sat down to lunch with one of our starters the other day and I said, ‘Are you getting calls?'”  Brown said, recounting the conversation. “He said, ‘Oh, Coach, I’ve got 15 places I could go.’ And he said, ‘I’m not going anywhere.’ And I said, ‘Are they offering you money?’ He said, ‘Yes. One hundred percent.'”

Brown didn’t reveal who the player was, but it’s definitely concerning when you’re trying to build and maintain an elite program that now you’re worried about your guys getting picked off.

The good news for Brown and the Heels is that starting quarterback and ACC Player of the Year Drake Maye will be returning to Chapel Hill.

There are already 2,000 college players in the transfer portal, which has been open to FCS and lower-division players. Brown and other coaches anticipate the number growing to 6,000 by next week.