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LSU’s Brian Kelly dishes on the ‘biggest issue’ when it comes to NIL in college football

LSU Tigers head coach Brian Kelly floated the idea of having a salary cap in college football as name, image and likeness (NIL) deals and the transfer portal become move prevalent.

Kelly explained his position in an interview on “The Dan Le Batard Show” last week.

“Well, if we had a salary cap, I’d be OK with it, but there’s no salary cap,” Kelly said. “I mean, that’s the issue, really. I mean, if we all were operating under the same guidelines, at least we could, you know, know, ‘OK this is what we’ve got,’ but that’s really the biggest issue. 

“But look at the parallels, you’re right. I mean look at Jayden Daniels, Malik Nabers, they’re all looking for that rookie signing bonus. We’re out there recruiting seniors in high school, they’re looking for that freshman signing bonus. The transfer portal, he’s looking for a free agent bonus, and then the guys on your roster, they want retention bonuses. 

Brian Kelly vs Texas A&M

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“So, look, it parallels, NIL money is broken down into the three categories that the NFL is paying out, and we’re doing the same thing. Unfortunately, we’re doing it without a salary cap, and that’s where it makes it just absolutely crazy, because you just don’t know what the numbers are from year to year.”

Kelly sounded the alarm about the “wild west” of NIL in December. He warned about instances where NIL could become “pay for play.”

Brian Kelly on the sidelines

LSU was ranked in the top 10 in 247 Sports’ recruiting rankings in 2023 and 2024. The Tigers were 10-4 in Kelly’s first season in 2022 and 10-3 in his second season last year.

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