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SEC Coach Bashed NIL Deals, Implied Players Make Too Much

Photo: Wesley Hitt

Missouri football coach Eli Drinkwitz bashed NCAA football's NIL rule, implying that student-athletes were being overpaid for endorsements, during the SEC meetings in Destin, Florida, on Tuesday (May 30).

Drinkwitz, who will make a guaranteed salary of $6 million in 2023, as well as an escalated pay scale adding an additional $250,000 each year through 2027 ($7 million total) as part of his recent contract extension, pointed out that many collegiate athletes are making more money than his brother-in-law, who works as a pediatrician.

"We're giving guys, 18-22-year-olds, life-changing money. People are making more money on NIL than my brother-in-law who is a pediatrician who saves lives," Drinkwitz said via Sports Illustrated. "And we kind of do it cavalier and we think there's not going to be side effects and issues? There's bad actors out there, bad actors out there always trying to make a dollar, running around campuses trying to gather information. It's going to become a key issue in our locker room."

Drinkwitz was criticized for his comments on social media, which included acknowledgement that he was rewarded with an escalated pay increase despite coming off a 17-19 record during his first three seasons as the Tigers' head coach.

"Clayton Farr Jr. is the chief of the fire department in Colombia, Missouri. He makes $146,000 a year. Eli Drinkwitz will make $6 million this year or more than 41 times what the leader of the life-saving fire department gets. Somebody should ask the Missouri coach about that one," wrote ESPN's Myron Medcalf.

Drinkwitz, who had previously worked as an offensive coordinator at Boise State and NC State, went 12-1 (8-1) during his lone season at Appalachian State in 2019 before being hired by Missouri the following season. The Tigers have finished under .500 during all three of Drinkwitz's seasons as head coach, which includes going 3-5 in SEC games during each of the past two seasons.

The NCAA announced it had "adopted a uniform interim policy suspending NCAA name, image and likeness rules for all incoming and current student-athletes in all sports" on June 30, 2021, with the rules going into effect on July 1, 2021.

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