Mark Richt: NIL landscape challenges team focus, will be ‘hard to manage’

Running back recruiting-Georgia football-Florida
Georgia running back Zamir White already has his own clothing line, "Z3," and will likely be among those who profit heavily from NIL if he keeps his starting job, as expected. Running backs coach Dell McGee controls the RB rotation and substitutions.

Helmets, shoulder pads, cleats and …. briefcases.

College football will have a new look this season amid the pending Name-Image-Likeness (NIL) legislation, and former Georgia coach Mark Richt anticipates more challenges than ever.

“It’s going to be hard to manage because those guys’ schedules are pretty packed as it is,” said Richt, a former two-time SEC Coach of the Year and ACC Coach of the Year.

“Now, you add all these deals, and that’s going to be what they think about,” Richt said, referring to athletes’ ability to make money promoting products and their own likeness.

“The more popular they are in social media, the more attractive they are to people to market things. They will spend a lot of time worrying about their own personal brand and how to build it.”

The University of Georgia, like many other schools, has taken a proactive approach. UGA has an agreement with Altius Sports Partners, a group that will educate and assist student-athletes on the NIL legislation that’s set to take effect in Georgia on July 1.

RELATED: Details of new UGA NIL agreement with Altius

Georgia fan-favorite Zamir White is among the athletes who could profit off their image this season, seen here wearing his "Z3" brand.
Zamir White Inst, Dawgnation

RELATED: UGA has no plans for players to split NIL money

Richt joked that back when he was a quarterback at the University of Miami the priorities were “girls, football and then school,” and now it will be “money, girls, football and school” for many players.

“It’s going to be a business and guys will be trying to get their brands popular enough to get their deals,” Richt said. “They’ll go to the schools that help facilitate the best deals.”

Georgia would seem to benefit from its proximity to Atlanta, which is now the seventh-largest market in the nation.

But Richt pointed out that market size might not have everything to do with the sort of deals that could be waiting on players.

“There may be a team such as Arkansas, in the middle of the pack in the SEC,” Richt said. “But guess whose headquarters are in Arkansas? Walmart, Tyson Chicken.

“What if they decide to cut all sorts of deals for that program?”

It’s an interesting concept.

For now, there remain more questions than answers for how the NIL legislation will affect college football and how the balance of power could change.

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