A day after he faced backlash for his comments about the recent influx of NIL money in college sports, Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz attempted to not only add more context to his opinions but also double down on the notion that his words were taken out of context by the media.
On Tuesday, Drinkwitz noted that student-athletes are now making more than his pediatrician brother-in-law, adding that the NCAA has “created [its] own problems” by normalizing players getting paid for their name, image and likeness.
Drinkwitz tried to clarify his comments by adding some additional context, but he only seemed to make things worse.
— Eliah Drinkwitz (@CoachDrinkwitz) May 30, 2023
On Wednesday, Drinkwitz appeared on The Paul Finebaum Show and again tried to recover from his comments about NIL that went viral, this time railing against the media.
Eliah Drinkwitz offers more context on his NIL opinions, and commentary on how the CFB world reported what he said on Tuesday pic.twitter.com/Z6jNPpssxP
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) May 31, 2023
“I think yesterday was a little bit of a disingenuous approach to media, to be quite honest,” Drinkwitz said Wednesday. “I don’t think my quote that made the rounds on [social] media was taken in any type of context at all. I was referring to the fact that I love the fact that our players make NIL. And I think that’s awesome. I’ve been one of the leaders in the forefront of that. I mean, our state law is one of the most progressive state laws out there. And I’m fighting for our players to have the ability to earn finances off their name, image and likeness.”
“What I want everybody to understand is there is unintended consequences with giving 18 to 22-year-olds a large sum of money. That’s what there needs to be an understanding of. We’re not talking about players making $10,000 or $12,000 a year. We’re talking about guys that are making six figures, seven figures, which is awesome, but with that much money comes a different set of responsibilities. And if we’re not careful, we’re gonna look back in four or five years and we’re gonna be just like the NFL and NBA where 78% of those professional athletes, after five years removed from playing in the NFL or NBA, are bankrupt.”
That all may and well be true, but Drinkwitz shouldn’t have to provide additional context not once, but twice, for his comments to suggest that he’s “fully supportive” of athletes seeking compensation through endorsement deals and other branding opportunities. That’s not on the media, that’s on him.
[The Paul Finebaum Show; photo from Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports]