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Ex-Ohio State coach Urban Meyer calls NIL collectives “cheating”

Urban Meyer didn’t hold back with his thoughts on NIL collectives.

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Ex-Ohio State coach urban Meyer, NIL
Jan 1, 2019; Pasadena, CA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer reacts in the fourth quarter against the Washington Huskies in the 2019 Rose Bowl at Rose Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last two years, the concept of name, image, and likeness (NIL) has become increasingly engrained in the fabric of college athletics. When used positively, NIL presents an opportunity for college students to monetize their athletic success and even make a difference in the community, as we have seen in recent months with several Penn State football players. However, at its worse, NIL has been denounced by critics for legalizing pay-for-play and making tampering in recruiting or the transfer portal much more likely. This week, ex-Ohio State coach Urban Meyer went so far as to call NIL collectives “cheating” in college football.

Urban Meyer calls NIL collectives “a fancy word for cheating”

On Thursday, former Ohio State head coach and current co-host of Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff show Urban Meyer was interviewed on Outkick’s Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich. Meyer didn’t hold back when Dakich asked him how the word “collective” in NIL came to be.

“I don’t know,” Meyer told Dakich. “I’m not saying it’s all that way, but from my understanding, it’s a fancy word for cheating.” Meyer went on to call the NCAA “toothless” and inferred that many collectives currently operate outside the NIL laws passed by state legislatures.

“When I hear that word, I kind of cringe right now, and I hear the stories behind it that they’re going to go to donors and boosters and ask for a lot of money and then decide who gets that money based on ability level,” Meyer said. “Which, I think, is 1A of the rule of NIL; you can’t do that.”

The discussion concluded with Meyer telling a second-hand story of a program that lost a recruit due to NIL. “I know very closely firsthand, I had a buddy who was recruiting a guy. He had it [the commitment], and it was over,” Meyer said. “Then, all of a sudden, another school offered him $500,000. He went back to his collective and said, ‘I need $500,000.’ They said, ‘We don’t have it,’ and they lost the player.”

Meyer has become an increasingly prominent TV personality since he returned to the Big Noon set last year. Meyer went on record in March with his thoughts on Penn State football this season, stating there is “an enormous amount of pressure” on James Franklin and the Nittany Lions to win in 2023.



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Matt is a Co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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