Fifteen months into the era of name, image and likeness (NIL), Mike Leach has come to a realization like so many within the industry: College sports have been professionalized. And it is time, he says, for college athletes to become professionals. It’s time for a player draft. It’s time for salary caps, for trades and for player cuts.
Caught in a purgatory between amateurism and professionalism since NIL was legalized in July 2021, college sports should take the full leap into the latter, the Mississippi State football coach says.
“This should not be a masquerade party of professionals. Are you a professional or are you not?” says Leach during an interview in his office earlier this week. “Instead of sitting here and having 17-year-olds lecture everybody that they are professionals, well, let them be professionals. It’s one [amateur] or the other [professional]. Right now, we’ve got this whole mysterious stratosphere of people wiggling all over back and forth.”
“With professionals comes responsibility,” he says. “Yeah, you will potentially make more money. But you are drafted and can be traded. That’s what professionals do. This college football group [of administrators], they are all shocked by that. Why are you shocked by it? Name one league of professionals who don’t do it that way.”
Filed Under: Mississippi St Sports