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.”
— Eliah Drinkwitz (@CoachDrinkwitz) May 30, 2023
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.
This doesn’t make it any better. Drunkwitz was asked about gambling. Proceeded to drop a word salad about athletes making too much from NIL. Never mentions that he supports it, or that the athletes have EARNED it. https://t.co/1X99Ufo9nv
— SmokelyCarmichael (@DeuceSkywalker) May 30, 2023
People the coach mentioned can reply. How convenient. https://t.co/wXotS9xseF
— Rodney Fort ? (@RodneyFort) May 30, 2023
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.