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Chip Kelly reveals interesting truth about college football recruiting

Chip Kelly at a press conference

Jul 24, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins coach Chip Kelly during Pac-12 football media day at Hollywood & Highland. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chip Kelly revealed an interesting truth about college football recruiting.

Kelly spoke with reporters on Tuesday after the UCLA Bruins practiced. Kelly is entering his sixth year as head coach of UCLA’s football team. His Bruins will be spending their final season in the Pac-12 this fall before moving to the Big Ten in 2024.

When UCLA announced their move to the Big Ten last year, it was only them and USC joining the new conference. But now, Washington and Oregon will be joining them in the new conference, making it four former Pac-12 schools moving to the Big Ten.

Kelly was asked whether the presence of Oregon and Washington in the Big Ten will affect UCLA’s recruiting. He said it would not. He said the reason that would not matter is because the only thing that matters in recruiting now is Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) money.

“You want to know what’s going on in recruiting right now? It’s all NIL. So whoever has the most money is getting the most players,” Kelly said.

And there you have it. You want players? You have to pay them the most money. Just don’t tell that to Jimbo Fisher.

Kelly also had another suggestion. He suggested that football should be treated differently from other college sports. For instance, it would make sense for UCLA and USC to play in the Big Ten just for football, where there are fewer games and fewer road trips to make, than say in baseball and softball. He cited Notre Dame, which is independent in football but part of the ACC in other sports, as an example of how that can work.

The idea makes plenty of sense and would be great if you could reconstruct things from scratch. The problem is that schools have already bundled the TV rights to their athletic programs and granted them to conferences, which have in turn granted those packaged rights to TV networks. Many of these TV deals are tied up for 10 more years, and many schools would have to pay major financial penalties to break their current deals.

Kelly’s idea makes a ton of practical sense, but it would be difficult to enact. And you also have a conference like the SEC, which is geographically aligned, and would not need to do make any exceptions, so not everyone would be in favor of Chip’s idea.


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