Nov 25, 2022; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers head coach Eli Drinkwitz watches play against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the game at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz is facing backlash for his comments about the recent influx of NIL money in college sports, noting 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.

Sensing his NIL views weren’t well-received, Drinkwitz went into damage control, defending his earlier remarks by adding what he felt was needed “context.”

Drinkwitz is due a $6-million salary this year, quite the windfall for a coach who has yet to experience a winning season since arriving on campus in 2020. Try as he might to pass this off as a misunderstanding, it’s clear Drinkwitz is trying to control the narrative, keeping criticism to a minimum by limiting replies on his post.

Drinkwitz, in retrospect, probably should have left this one alone, arguably making matters worse for himself by applying his own ill-advised “spin” tactics. Regardless of the question that was posed, Drinkwitz steered the conversation to NIL by his own volition, a Freudian slip expressing a resentment shared by many of his fellow coaches, including Nick Saban and Dabo Sweeney, who seem similarly exasperated by the changing power dynamic in college sports.

While Drinkwitz insists he’s “fully supportive” of athletes seeking compensation through endorsement deals and other branding opportunities, it’s hard to mask his thinly-veiled outrage at a system that, after years of exploiting athletes under the guise of “amateurism,” has swung decidedly in the players’ favor.

About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.