Saturday September 30, 2023

Parity Rules at Men’s Final Four Despite NIL, Transfer Portal

  • Coaches and executives predicted transfer rules and NIL deals would increase the gaps between programs.
  • March Madness to conclude with historic bracket in Houston.
Florida Atlantic heads to Final Four.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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September 29, 2023 | Podcast
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Coaches and industry executives have suggested that NCAA transfer rules and name, image, and likeness deals would increase the gap between the college sports’ haves and have-nots. They predicted successful players would immediately transfer to perennial powerhouses lured by wealthy NIL collectives.

But this year’s Final Four slate tells a different story: one where parity in men’s college hoops is higher than it has been in years. The quartet of San Diego State, Florida Atlantic University, Miami, and UConn have already made history:

  • In the seeding era, not since 1970, the men’s Final Four will not include any of the top-three seeds. 
  • San Diego State, FAU, and Miami will make their debuts at the Final Four in Houston.
  • San Diego State is the first Mountain West team to make it past the Sweet 16 in conference history.

Miami star Isaiah Wong, for example, decided to stick with the Hurricanes last year despite his agent saying he wanted to shop around for more lucrative NIL deals. (Wong, who has a partnership with prominent Miami booster John Ruiz’s company, later said the statement did not reflect his intentions.)

No school is immune to transfers. But some coaches and players emphasized the benefits of playing on the same team for multiple years rather than chasing the flashiest deals or biggest name-brand programs. 

“We knew that the grass isn’t always greener,” FAU’s Bryan Greenlee told reporters of players staying loyal to the team. As it turns out, they were right.

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