FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas is closing in on the end of the 2023 season which means the focus soon will be recruiting.
Recruiting talk now has to include thoughts about NIL and Sam Pittman talked about that on Wednesday. Pittman was asked if he was pleased with NIL and how it relates to Arkansas. He also was asked how much that is a topic in his recruiting.
“I think everybody wants more money,” Pittman said. “They want a pool of money that collectives can bring that can help your program. That can make you competitive around the country. We’re not talking specifically about that much. That’s really with the NIL department. But the money and the funds that are there, we need to grow that budget. Once we do that, we can obviously become more competitive in recruiting.”
Many have speculated Arkansas doesn’t have the NIL money to compete with many others in the SEC. Pittman was asked to address that topic.
“I think, no doubt, that we have the resources and all that,” Pittman said. “It’s hard to know everybody’s budget. It’s hard to know all budgets. I don’t feel, probably, that our budget is as big as a lot of the schools in the SEC. But it’s hard to know that because you really don’t know. You just know what other kids, where they come in recruiting of what NIL can do for them at other schools. And it’s a lot more than what you could imagine to be perfectly honest with you.”
As far as NIL, many have expressed hope that spending can be brought under control. Would Pittman favor some new rules?
“I’m not fine with it at all, the way it is now,” Pittman said. “But I think there has to be some type of… If we’re going to be an NFL-type franchise, we probably ought to look at what the NFL’s is doing with their incoming with caps, incoming players. Because there’s some guys on the team, in all honesty, that came in without NIL. And so the NIL is certainly a big part of recruiting. And you’ve got guys on your team that started for a while and whatever. It’s just like the NFL where they had a starting left tackle, and then the rookie — a long time ago — came in and made a lot more money than he did. It’s just… It’s wild, to be honest with you right now.
“So, there’s something… Something has to give in legislation. Because I remember two or three years ago where the kids at Texas, if they played O-line, you know got $20,000 in NIL endorsements or whatever. And I remember at the time going, ‘Man, we can’t recruit at all.’ And now that’s a drop in the bucket, you know. It’s rapidly increasing. It’s not monopoly money. And so, we’re in trouble across — in my opinion — across the NCAA because it’s not Monopoly, it’s real money that’s being paid out. Yes, I’d be all for somebody putting some types of restrictions on it.”