Miami coach Jim Larrañaga asks for transparency on NIL deals
By ERIC OLSON
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Miami coach Jim Larrañaga wants to know how much money athletes at other schools are making through name, image and likeness deals.
It's only fair, he said, since no school has had the values of its athletes' deals publicized more than Miami.
“I think everybody should be transparent,” he said at a news conference Saturday ahead of his team’s NCAA Tournament Midwest Region final aganst Texas. “Why is it hidden behind the curtain? Why? You can go on a website and check out anybody’s salary in the NBA.
“There are a lot of schools that do the same thing we do. We just don’t know about it because it’s not public knowledge. Why not? Why are we afraid of sharing that information?”
Larrañaga said full disclosure is important for competitive reasons and also so the NCAA or Congress can have more information at their disposal when, and if, they bring clarity and uniformity to NIL rules.
Nijel Pack's two-year, $800,000 contract with Miami booster John Ruiz is the most publicized NIL deal since the NCAA began allowing college athletes to make money off their popularity. ACC player of the year Isaiah Wong’s $100,000 deal with Ruiz also became public knowledge.
Though the terms of twins Haley and Hanna Cavinder’s deals have not been publicized, the two reportedly have made millions of dollars during their time playing women's basketball at Fresno State and now Miami.
Larrañaga said television networks, shoe companies, universities, athletic directors and coaches make lots of money off college sports and that the athletes deserve a cut.
“I hope they get as many great deals as they can because I think eventually they have to learn how to handle money,” he said. “So at their young age, if they learn it, maybe they’ll find out. I don’t know how many of these guys are spending every cent they get, but I know a lot of NBA guys did that and ended up bankrupt. I think that’s a learning experience. That’s why you’re in college anyway.”
There have been concerns raised that publicizing the amount of money athletes make could cause jealousy and splinter locker rooms.
Larrañaga said NIL hasn't changed the dynamic, as far as he's concerned.
“These guys have to get along on the court and off the court,” he said. “If you can’t handle that as a coach, you probably couldn’t handle it when a guy was complaining about playing time or ‘I didn’t get enough shots.’”
Wong disputed a report last year that, upon learning of Pack's deal, he threatened through his agent to transfer if his NIL deal wasn't beefed up.
Larrañaga said he's seen no problems between the two.
“They hit it off day one,” he said. “Why? Because they love playing basketball."
Jordan Miller vouched for his coach, especially when it comes to Pack's deal.
“At the end of the day, he’s our teammate, and everybody’s happy for him,” Miller said.
Larrañaga said he couldn't speculate on whether athletes would be paid as employees of universities some day.
For now, the most important thing is to set firm guidelines for NIL and to make sure athletes are educated about how to manage their money.
“Guys like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson and LeBron (James), they make life-changing money, life-altering money,” Larrañaga said. “These young kids, they might not get that chance beyond this. So they need an education about it.”
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Updated March 25, 2023