Getting to 85 and Dylan Raiola

I can’t stand it anymore… I’ve already showed people how we aren’t as good at NIL as everyone thinks with this piece:

Now we have people saying “Well we are at 100+ scholarship players, just move some of them to an NIL scholarship and we will be fine.” Or even worse “there’s no scholarship limit with NIL.” I hate to keep harping on how we aren’t as good at NIL as our fanbase thinks, but I feel it’s important to talk about so our fans can have a dose of reality. ABM in the first year of NIL paid under 1 million dollars to all Nebraska athletes. Yes, you read that right, and just google it as it’s public record and that included all athletes such as basketball and volleyball on top of football. In fact we don’t want some of the stuff getting out about our NIL the first year or two, take that as you want. Texas A&M that same first year paid 30 million for just their recruiting class. The following year we are sitting at about 5-7 million for our NIL with our main collective, Ohio State needs 13 million just to keep things status quo. We ain’t there yet people. And all of these things I just stated i’ve validated with my blog where i’ve had more than one sit down with guys that are in the know for this NIL stuff, or you can google it. I feel like a lot of Nebraska fans are saying “move them to NIL” because we think our NIL game is just this massive organization… and it isn’t. But more than that, it isn’t even legal which is really the point of this so I can stop hearing people say that. Ok, enough of that. Let’s get into why even if we were awesome at it, it can’t happen.

So if anyone says this to you, just say “well, that’s illegal.” You see, all of these guys on our 100+ man scholarship roster signed letters of intent. A letter of intent binds you to paying for a scholarship for that player while he is at your school. Again, this rule ONLY APPLIES TO ATHLETES THAT HAVE SIGNED THEIR NATIONAL LETTER OF INTENT. I capitalized that because it is important. You see, a player signing that and thus our football team tweeting that they received it, means that the school sent them a contract and the player signed it. This is a contract stating that while they are at the University of Nebraska we will pay for ALL fees associated with being here (and then some). So, all of these 100+ players have signed that, we can’t move them to an “NIL scholarship” because that is illegal. As long as they are on the football team for Nebraska, they count towards the 85. Read that again, and i’ll type it again. ANY PLAYER THAT SIGNED A LETTER OF INTENT TO PLAY FOOTBALL FOR NEBRASKA COUNTS TOWARDS THE 85 MAN SCHOLARSHIP LIMIT AS LONG AS HE IS PLAYING FOOTBALL FOR NEBRASKA.

So let’s just say you hate me from the previous message board where I told you Frost and his staff needed to change things to be successful here and got me kicked off. We are talking about getting to 85 for the 2023 season, and all of these guys that have signed have this in their back corner:

The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution. This comes from the NLI website.

  • A prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the institution full-time for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).
  • The institution agrees to provide athletics financial aid for one academic year (two semesters or three quarters).

And the Power 5 schools voted to have that count while the player is at your school for more than one year. So I think i’ve debunked the “just put them on NIL scholarship” now. You literally can’t if they signed a letter of intent. Let’s get into a few of the loopholes. First, you can put someone on medical if you don’t think they will contribute. Medical scholarship means the school still pays for their expenses, they just can not play for you anymore. This is a route most often taken by schools if a player doesn’t do the next option. The following option is Rhule and the position coach have a meeting with the player that says “we don’t see you as a fit here” or “you aren’t going to play, we can help you get somewhere that you will”. Once a kid enters the portal, that national letter of intent and guaranteed scholarship is void. We are not obligated. And that’s what will happen with the majority of kids this spring.


So, while i’m sure on all of that above, i’m curious about two things. First, with transfers. Obviously those scholarships don’t need to be guaranteed for 4 years because in many cases (like Casey Thompson) a kid has already had 4-5 years of school paid for. We don’t have to pay for his school until he’s 27. So with transfers can we get out of it? We absolutely CAN NOT for the 2023 season, because they signed their letter, but if it isn’t working after one year I think we are ok to cut ties. While this doesn’t help us for 2023, it can be a way to loosen the numbers for 2024.

The other one i’m curious about is if you tell a kid he isn’t going to play or move him to an “NIL scholarship” and he only practices for you, does he count towards your numbers? Let me be clear, there is no such thing as moving a kid that is going to play for you off a full ride to an NIL scholarship. I’m simply saying if someone isn’t getting it done and he gets an appearance fee here and there, would he count? That I don’t know.

Allow me to go deeper to try and clarify what i’m saying in the previous paragraph. I remember having the conversation back when Barney Cotton was here. I got so pissed that we were handing his kids scholarships when all they had to do was pay discounted tuition because their dad was an employee. “They can freaking afford it with what we are paying his dad, right!? So why wouldn’t we just have them pay their own way and have 87 scholarships?!” was my battle cry. Turns out I got my ass handed to me while having drinks one night at Tavern on the Square… you see that could happen until they played an actual game. Once they played on the field (one snap) they counted towards the 85. It was a way the NCAA regulated not just having football teams put parents on staff or employ them through the university as a janitor to discount tuition and get “walk-ons as scholarship players.”

The long and short of it is, if anyone is going to be playing for us that signed a letter of intent, the new rules clearly state we can’t take their scholarship away. Further, anyone that signed a letter of intent that is practicing on your football team counts towards your 85. So you can’t just tear up the document and “put them on NIL scholarship.”

But where could it work?

Ok, I went off trying to prove my point to all the people that don’t get it. Feel like we did a good job there. But I do think there are pockets where it could work. So first of all, there are some good articles out there that talk about how a recruit is never choosing a taxed and non-guaranteed NIL deal over a full-ride scholarship. Those are guys like Jayden Lloyd, Dwight Bootle II, etc., where it makes zero sense to give up all of the benefits of a full-ride scholarship. They are fringe guys happy to get their offer, so I have a hard time believing some of our fringe guys would say “ok ya i’m just happy if you give me some NIL dollars.” It’s not sanctioned by the NCAA and again, the money isn’t guaranteed.

But Matt Rhule has a little bit of a plan that has me intrigued. There’s two scenarios I can see this working.

First, the massive five star getting a 7 figure NIL deal anyway so he’s got plenty of cash to pay for whatever he needs. Think Dylan Raiola. Let’s call it 5 million to come here, maybe he doesn’t sign a letter of intent because he’s getting plenty anyway from our collective? Can he just “walk-on” and take his NIL money so we get 86 scholarships? Maybe.

Second, and I think the more reasonable, is the kid going D2 or NAIA that is getting a partial scholarship. Rhule and company can clean up shop here in my opinion. In-state kids that want to go to Northwest Missouri State or other places, we can get pretty close to what they are offering just giving them 10 or 15k in NIL.

Circling back negative, why would a kid take NIL?

Listen, I know it sounds good on the message board to say “just take NIL over the full-ride” but there’s more to it. NIL isn’t guaranteed like a scholarship, NIL is taxed, NIL is usually on top of your full-ride scholarship so anyone worth a scholly to Nebraska is getting both from other places, not to go Toby Flenderson but:

So here’s the deal, I got into a Twitter argument with some moron who was arguing with me about how we wouldn’t need to pay kids close to 100k to make up for the full-ride football scholarship even though I was told that would be close to what we would need to “get someone on NIL scholarship to match what the football team pays.” So let’s just talk about how we got there. According to UNL, out of state tuition, fees, housing and meal plan is 39,414 for two semesters of school. That doesn’t include books call it 5k (for round numbers). That doesn’t include another 12 credit hours in the winter or summer that the full-ride pays for (why most of our guys graduate in 3 years) which is another 10k. That doesn’t include the 10k or so annually of a football players stipend. That gets us to 65k right away. Oh, by the way NIL money is taxed and if we just do the 65k that’s 22%, that gets you to 80k and we aren’t even to all of the other things. Ok, 80k NIL to get you close to what a full-ride kid does.

So you are convincing a kid hey, you gotta hire someone to do your taxes and pay all these things yourself instead of us just doing it all for you. Oh and on top of doing all the football things you need to do 10-15 NIL things to get this money by law of the NCAA just so we can get you even with the full-ride players. Even though the full-ride scholarship guy doesn’t have to do squat to get that kind of money from us. And on top of that if a kid that’s fringe is already getting 80k plus from NIL, do you think the collective is going to work to get him more? No.

Confused? Let me explain further. So full-ride kid has 0 NIL deals, pays zero taxes, but everything is taken care of for him right out of the gate. “NIL scholarship kid” gets paid all of that, does all of his taxes and filing, does 10-15 NIL appearances to get that money. Just compare full-ride kid doing 5 NIL things getting his scholarship and another 20k on top of that, to “NIL scholarship kid” doing 20 or 25 NIL things to get the same situation. It just isn’t happening.

What about BYU giving all walk-ons free tuition with NIL!?

I got this question from a guy that constantly tries to come after me on Twitter.

Freaking awesome. And quite frankly it’s what NIL needs to be in my opinion. Help companies get their name out there and help cover the costs for some kids. But as this article explains, BYU is quite frankly one of the cheapest schools out there to do this for. Less than 10k per walk-on and it didn’t include all the other fees I was talking about. And the buzz it created was easily worth the 300k it cost the brand. This article goes into it in more detail, but if you did this at a Nebraska, USC, Ohio State, it would cost many hundreds of thousands more.

Let’s wrap it up:

No recruit is choosing an “NIL non-guaranteed scholarship” over a full-ride. Now, can the transfers we talked about possibly help us here, yes. Can it help with recruits that haven’t signed their letter of intent, possibly. But this isn’t helping us reduce to 85 from 102 or whatever we are at in 2023, again it’s illegal to just rip up the contract we had the kid sign for the upcoming year.

Think about it freaking logically for all the people on your message board saying “unlimited schollies with NIL” when there’s a thread about getting to 85. So Rhule is going to say “hey, you know that binding contract you signed to come here? Let’s shred it and just get you on an NIL deal that comes close and isn’t guaranteed?” That doesn’t work anywhere ever.

Positivity with Raiola?

I’ll double down on this. We have a better shot with the #1 player in the 2024 class than people think. Our director of player personnel spent a few hours playing Madden with the dude:

Wilhite would never have done that, and this is why Rhule needed younger guys. To go further, Davison and Raiola were in the same recruiting class. While i’m not saying they are the best of friends, he at least has a line of communication and a relationship that no other team in the country can touch. I promise you that Davison is well aware of what other teams are seeking and while i’ve been vocal about us not being where others are on NIL, that won’t be a problem here. Davison can make one phone call and we have what we need to get Raiola here.

Let’s go lastly, freaking 9 coaches went to see the fam last week. A far cry from being too drunk on margaritas to make the recruiting pitch. We are in this thing folks, more than people want to know. And we aren’t wasting 9 coaches time if we didn’t have a punchers chance.

I’ll tell you our uphill battle… He was committed to Ohio State and now Georgia is our biggest competition. He wants to play for a winner.

Now i’ll tell you our good… He likes the idea of getting this place back to where his dad had it. And he’d be one of the only people in the country who is in the hall of honor with his dad at their University. He’s a generational talent and if he can help turn this place around he will walk on water here and never have to work a “real job” again if the NFL doesn’t work out just like many of our heroes from the past.

I’ll say this, i’m not sure we win this recruitment in March even though I will tell people we will because I like where we sit. But if we show some signs of “better than Frost” this fall I think we could flip him if he doesn’t commit here initially in the next 60 days. You see, for all the shit people flipped Clester, Dom didn’t want his kid here for all the same reasons the past five years. They didn’t believe in the leader and where this thing was heading. That’s all changed now. And we ain’t sending 9 dudes if we don’t think we have a chance.

But this is all going to come down to 2023. If Nebraska somehow starts off 3-1 heading to Michigan and we look like a completely different team (well coached, in most games, chances of a bowl season) then we can flip Raiola from Georgia to us. He knows what he’s getting with the Buckeyes, USC, and Georgia. He doesn’t know what he’s getting with Nebraska. So even if he doesn’t commit right away, stay the course, it won’t be over. Buckle up and do your thing Husker fans.

On Wednesday we will go over how excited we should be for our transfers and if our coaches can keep this unbelievable pace up

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5 thoughts on “Getting to 85 and Dylan Raiola

  1. I’m not going to claim to have dug in to the ins and outs of NIL rules and how much Nebraska has. I found it interesting though when tons of people came out when we lost the Stanford OL that Rhule wasn’t playing the game enough and we needed to fork over more NIL money to get players like that. Maybe that was true.

    I didn’t have a super strong or informed opinion if that was right or wrong, but was like ‘do you really know what the game plan was, what happened, or know how much we have to actually pay someone like that’? Like, maybe we did lose him to NIL $ to Oklahoma, but maybe it wasn’t our top priority to deplete whatever funds we had for that player?

    I’m not trying to say every decision Rhule makes will be the right one, but I think some people think we just have a blank check and there’s no consequences for money we should be throwing at every recruit.

    1. I do know 1890 was in constant contact with his agent, and the dollar amount was absolutely a factor. I think he liked what our coaches said better and we had an attractive NIL package. Oklahoma basically just matched or went over the top with it and he flipped. I’m sure for guys like that Rhule would say “get him whatever we can to keep him” but again it’s a loose affiliation with the University.

  2. Let’s dig into the more fun topic of where the attrition is going to come from (another write up?). No need to throw out names just positions you see going. I don’t think people realize how much attrition is coming because we will add more transfers after May 1. And before I give my list, 1 quick question. We have a bunch of kids who used their 1 “free” transfer a year ago (Purdy, Hill, etc.) that could have gone into the portal within 30 days of a coaching change and not had to sit, but by staying through spring I think they have to sit if they move on. Is this your understanding? If so, I wonder what some of these guys heard from Rhule to stick around.

    My guess:

    QB: 2
    RB: 1-2
    WR: 3
    TE: 3
    OL: 2
    DL: 1-2 (we don’t have enough bodies here to lose too much)
    LB: 3 (I’m viewing edge rushers plus ILB)
    DB: 4

    1. The QB and WR room will be places we have to fend off Husker fans from freaking out with losses there. TE i’m not sure what’s going to happen, we are so thin there we need bodies but we also have guys that probably aren’t D1 there. LB and DB we brought in a ton of guys and there will be some kids here that just don’t fit what we are trying to do schematically.

      In regard to that rule, you are correct. What people have to remember is that a lot of these kids are finding out that more than half of the players that go into the portal don’t even find a new home. Another 25% or so (maybe more) end up moving down a level whether that be Go5, FCS, or D2. So for guys like Purdy and Hill, the hard reality is we were able to get those guys because there wasn’t a ton of competition for them. So now they transferred and aren’t playing for a team that hasn’t made a bowl game in 6 years, if they go into the portal you basically are going to a lower school at this point and some guys aren’t ready for that to be reality.

      I have my next write-up on the attrition coming. It will actually be my pinned tweet until May or June.

      1. Look forward to it. Agreed fans will panic on some spots, but while fans may lose it over a few WR transfers, my biggest concern here is after spring we will have virtually nothing to show from HS recruiting 2019-22. And of course we missed numbers there under Riley then had Frost run off half that room on arrival. I can’t believe how bad its been for a decade.

        Other call out for you is if you see any potential position changes. Does Hill stay at WR or go back to DB? Where does Omar Brown and Javin Wright fit, LB/S/CB? I actually think this staff tries Gunnerson out at DL because he doesn’t fit their athletic profile for edge rusher and has the frame. I’m sure there are others where instead of transferring they emerge in a different role.

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