Another day, another chapter in the developing drama surrounding NIL deals.
This time it was about a player feeling his NIL compensation wasn’t on par with an incoming transfer to his team. So now we have battles in practice for starting positions and players compete and catch feelings about who’s getting the bigger bag to attend said university.
The latest basketball player to test the limits of NIL deals and hardball negotiations is Isaiah Wong of the Miami Hurricanes, who over the weekend reportedly contemplated entering the transfer portal, upon hearing an incoming teammate’s deal had a higher value than Wong’s current deal.
It was said that Wong would enter the transfer portal if his NIL payout wasn’t increased. But up against a hard deadline of Sunday to transfer without having to sit out next season, that aggressive stance quickly changed after the NIL deal wasn’t increased.
Wong decided that a bird in the hand was the best play and apologized for the comments made, claiming they were made without his approval.
“The recent statements made without any authorization on my behalf do not reflect my views and in no way was I willing to jeopardize my relationship with Lifewallet or the University of Miami. After discussing the matter with my family, I was able to clarify my intentions and resolve any misunderstandings with both organizations and have since agreed to move forward with established agreements made prior to the confusion. My priority is to act with the highest level of character and integrity. Any further statements will be made by me personally.”
Beyond blessed pic.twitter.com/UHtDlYAAMh
— Isaiah wong (@zaywong21) April 25, 2022
Wong, was hoping LifeWallet would increase his bag after giving Kansas State’s Nigel Pack a two-year $800,000 deal and a car to transfer to Miami. That didn’t happen and Wong is still enrolled in Coral Gables.
Wong’s Agent May Have Spoken A Little To Hastily
With student-athletes now landing these deals, agents are heavily involved in many instances. Wong’s agent, Adam Papas, called himself speaking up on behalf of his client when he told ESPN the following upon hearing about Pack’s big deal late last week.
“If Isaiah and his family don’t feel that the NIL number meets their expectations they will be entering the transfer portal tomorrow, while maintaining his eligibility in the NBA Draft and going through the draft process.”
Papas wasn’t done ….
“Isaiah would like to stay at Miami. He had a great season leading his team to the Elite Eight. He has seen what Miami incoming Miami Hurricanes basketball players are getting in NIL and would like his NIL to reflect he was a team leader of an Elite Eight team.”
LifeWallet owner John Ruiz, who also owns Cigarette Racing, was adamant that he doesn’t renegotiate any of his NIL deals agreed upon.
“Isaiah is under contract,” Ruiz said. “He has been treated by LifeWaller exceptionally well. If that is what he decides, I wish him well, however I DO NOT renegotiate! Surprises me because there are so many players that would love to play for the U!”
ZAY. GAME. WINNER. ❕ pic.twitter.com/u4qW6PSnzK
— Canes Hoops (@CanesHoops) November 17, 2021
Bill Self And Nick Saban Recently Spoke Of This Type Stuff Happening: Purchasing Players?
Two of the sports’ heavyweight sideline stalkers in Kansas head basketball coach Bill Self and Alabama head football coach Nick Saban have expressed their qualms about how the NIL and transfer portal are coinciding. Almost in a pay-for-play kind of deal in many cases.
Remy Martin bringing that ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/ATvdLaOfvr
— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) March 14, 2022
Self calls the portal “out of control,” and Saban says this current mode “isn’t sustainable,” but both have benefited greatly from the portal with Self cutting down the nets in New Orleans last month for his second national championship.
Saban also used some top-heavy transfers to make his ninth championship game in his 15-year tenure at BAMA.
It’ll be very interesting to see how this continues to develop going forward. The money is rolling.
Players are getting millions in NIL deals and even trying to get an early start on the art of contract negotiations. The rules of the NIL game are in their early stages of development. Exciting and scary times for the business of college sports.