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Florida head football coach Billy Napier is the latest to give his opinion on the wild west nature of NIL, saying Thursday that the Gators will not use NIL funding in potential bidding wars.
“We don’t operate that way, if that makes sense,”Napier said, via Sports Illustrated. “I think that NIL is a portion of the decision. I think a lot of times when you really dig into ‘why is the player leaving where he’s at,’ there are other factors. All these situations are case-by-case, you’ve got to evaluate each situation independent of all the others.”
Head Coach Jimbo Fisher of the Texas A&M Aggies talks at midfield with Head Coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Crimson Tide defeated the Aggies 45-23. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Napier, 42, is entering his first year as head coach at Florida, and does so with NIL the talk of the conference. Alabama’s Nick Saban and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher took it to another level last week, during their public spat on each other’s programs.
While Napier said that not all players will make decisions based squarely on NIL, that doesn’t mean he won’t use it altogether. Napier said he’s studied the NFL as a way to make sense of what’s going on in college football.
Florida head coach Billy Napier and quarterback Anthony Richardson chat Thursday during the Gators' spring practice in Gainesville, Florida. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
“There’s no manual for this in college football,” Napier said. “I’ve been studying the National Football League because I think there are some things to learn. Every player on our team who hasn’t transferred before is a free agent every year. That’s the one thing that we lack that the National Football League has.”
It’ll be tough sledding for Napier in year one in the SEC, with Florida coming off a 6-7 season in which Dan Mullen received third prize after a 5-6 start. Using NIL to his advantage could be a way to spark the rebuild in Gainesville, with the likes of Georgia and Alabama to compete with.
Nick Saban the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Georgia Bulldogs at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
As every day goes by, and the more that we are boots on the ground as we get out,” Napier said. “We get to know people, NIL is going to be a slam dunk for the Florida Gators.”