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Gary Patterson’s honesty about NIL is honestly refreshing

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Gary spoke openly and honestly about how the new NIL rules are impacting recruiting.

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Days Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

TCU held an NIL Open House on Wednesday evening, during which several TCU coaches, including Gary Patterson, spoke about how the new NIL rules are already impacting college athletics.

Patterson’s comments were incredibly honest, and some of them are making the rounds on social media.

If you want to read all of Patterson’s comments in context, I would encourage you to read Drew Davison’s piece on the event for the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Here’s my two cents: Patterson isn’t wrong, especially when he talks about players recruiting players, and NIL money being an intriguing reason to pick one school over several others.

There’s no harm in saying, “this is the new era of college athletics, kids want to get paid, and we’ll have to pay them to get them to our school.” The new NIL rules afford every coach at every school the opportunity to do this now.

NIL rules have ushered in a new era

In the last handful of months we’ve seen freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers sign an NIL deal worth $1.4 million and LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne sign a deal for six figures. Not every NIL deal is going to break the bank like that, but even the smaller deals are going to make a big impact on the economic standing of some student athletes.

Patterson even said as much on Wednesday night:

Patterson went on to say that he’s more concerned about what he described as the “98%” rather than the “2%” that are signing seven-figure deals. The majority of college athletes are not going to reach the pro level, but earning as much as possible during their college years has become a priority now.

If anything, it’s a massive shift for Patterson, who famously has turned down help from prominent boosters if he even slightly sensed something off the books was happening. For TCU fans, Patterson’s comments should be an encouraging sign that the long-time head coach is adjusting to this new world.

Recruits recruit recruits

It’s also not a revelation that players talk to one another during the recruiting process. Schools have athletes host prospects on official visits all the time, and high school friends talk about where they should go and play together at the next level. In that regard, Patterson’s comments aren’t even remotely groundbreaking.

It’s also not a tremendous leap to suggest that recruits are going to pay attention to which schools have the best NIL deals for their athletes. Student athletes have been posting pictures with stacks of money to their Instagram and Snapchat stories for years, and now that’s going to come with company logos, endorsed by their universities.

Kids aren’t dumb. They’ll keep track of who is getting paid and how much.

TCU is still in a position of NIL strength

As a university, TCU has done everything right so far. From signing a deal with Opendorse, to creating a partnership between the athletic department and business school called “Scaled to Succeed,” the university is positioning itself well.

From a booster standpoint, well, let’s just remember that TCU fundraised close to $400 million to completely renovate Amon G. Carter and build the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.

TCU will be fully capable of keeping up when it comes to NIL deals for student athletes, and Patterson’s comments simply suggest that he’s ready to run that race.