Sports & Culture Media

Name Image & Unlikeliness

   The Recruiting Class of 2022 has been an interesting one for College Football. Alabama continued its run of Top 5 classes, Texas put together a solid group, and Texas A&M brought In a record class all around. 

    The Name Image and Likeness wave has brought a lot of change to the recruiting process around the country and in many different collegiate sports. Football is on the center stage, with the most NIL deals per school. Some schools are using the NIL deals as a recruiting tool to bring in top-tier talent, bringing the debate to the front that there should be a cap or limit on the amount of money a student-athlete should receive and who should be able to get such deals.

    The NCAA’s current rules leave the specifics up to each conference. That was a mistake from the start. No conference will establish a limit on how much an athlete can receive, while another rival conference allows unlimited possibilities for incoming recruits. 

    The most prominent example of a need for more restrictions is the 2022 Class for Texas A&M. The Aggies brought in seven 5-star players this past cycle, the most by a single school since experts began tracking classes statistically in 1999. For comparison, the 2021 Recruiting Class for the Aggies had only one 5-star commit, and the class ranked 8th in the nation on most boards. So what sparked the uprising?

    The Aggies beat Alabama this past season, making Head Coach Jimbo Fisher the first former Nick Saban assistant to beat him, and undoubtedly that could have helped. But the Aggies were statistically worse overall in 2021 than the previous season. Georgia also beat Alabama in 2021 and for a National Championship. Georgia had a very strong class in 2022, but not to the effect of the Aggies class. 

    That leaves me to wonder how much NIL deals played a role in the classes this year around the country. A rule change could erase any doubt of such plundering. If a rule were in place that Sophomores could only accept NIL deals, the Recruiting process would find more balance. I have to wonder who would have had the top class in 2022 with this rule in place, and I think Alabama would have once again run away with the honors. Hopefully, someone in the right position has the same idea.

Chris Ausburn