SI Report: More Details Revealed About Alleged NIL Tampering Of Utah Football Player

Oct 18, 2022, 1:54 PM
Mark Harlan - Utah Athletic Director...
University of Utah's new Athletics Director Mark Harlan leaves the field at Rice Eccles Stadium on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Courtesy of Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Over the summer allegations swirled about possible NIL Collective tampering with a Utah football player by another school. Not much came of it other than being a rumor with some legs at the time, but Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan recently sat down with Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde to give some details into what happened.

Harlan does not give details into who the football player was, or the school the collective is involved with though he did mention about a million dollars was offered up if the player would transfer. Harlan says he called the AD at the school the collective is connected to in order to explain what happened once news reached his door.

Harlan went on to note the fellow AD is a friend in the industry and it wasn’t about chewing them out, but simply letting them know there was an issue that maybe needed some attention from their side. He also detailed his fellow AD was frustrated by the news and that a lot of people on the administrative side of sports know changes need to be made to the current NIL rules.

“I believe so much in it, I believe it’s the right thing,” Harlan said of NIL. “But it’s difficult to not have an enforcement mechanism when we’re running into someone who is clearly utilizing it, in some form or fashion, as inducement. And we’re not. That’s frustrating.”

The Utes And NIL

Forde’s story with Harlan comes on the heels of comments made by head coach Kyle Whittingham last week during his weekly Monday press conference. One reporter asked Whittingham about how they are addressing the retention issue that comes up with the transfer portal plus collectives being able to entice players with money under the current rules. Whittingham had a cheeky answer before getting very serious about it.

“Pay them a bunch of money,” Whittingham said flatly which earned some chuckles. “That’s kind of what it comes down to and coming to. I’m not accusing anyone of illegal improprieties or anything like that because it is all above board now with NIL. As I said before, there is going to come a time in the very, very near future where the top 25 NIL pot of money are going to mirror almost exactly the Top 25 programs in the country. That’s just how it is. That’s where it’s heading and there is no debating about it unless they change the rules. I don’t think they can backpedal now with the can of worms they opened.”

For the here and now, Utah’s situation worked out. The player in question never left the program. In fact, if you believe the allegations as to the who and what, it seems the alleged player is doing pretty ok in Salt Lake City both on and off the field.

However, it is a cautionary tale of where NIL is going and what will have to be done in the future to keep a good roster intact.  Some schools are in a position to handle it just fine, other schools won’t be so lucky, and it has the potential to shift the powers that be in college football drastically if not checked soon.

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SI Report: More Details Revealed About Alleged NIL Tampering Of Utah Football Player