Arizona State NIL Collective Reportedly Implies Brazen ‘Pay-For-Play’ Amid Program’s NCAA Investigation

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Arizona State football is currently in the middle of a serious NCAA investigation over its recruiting practices that directly implicates head coach Herm Edwards and has led to the resignation of multiple coaches across the program. Meanwhile, as NIL changes the landscape of college athletics, a new collective that is linked to the university needs to read up on “pay-for-play” violations.

Name, Image and Likeness allows collegiate athletes to receive financial compensation. That does not mean that a recruit or transfer can be paid directly in return for their commitment. A program or its boosters cannot use NIL deals or funds as a recruiting inducement.

There is a lot of grey area with NIL. There are a lot of legal — rather, not illegal — loopholes and workarounds that have led high school recruits to sign massive NIL deals with collectives tied to their future program before enrollment.

However, to reiterate, money and/or NIL opportunities can not be used as a direct inducement. That is illegal. It is very clear.

Well, Arizona State’s newest collective might want to get up to speed on the rules.

Earlier this week, the Sun Angel Collective began operation. It opened with a goal of raising $1 million and will use the Opendorse platform to ensure that all NIL activies are in full compliance with the NCAA, University, and State of Arizona guidelines.

However, the president of the Sun Angel NIL Collective reportedly said something that he definitely should not have.

During a conversation with Michelle Gardner of USA Today-affiliated, Jeff Burg spoke to what sounds like a direct recruiting inducement.

He said that some of money raised will be used for “attracting top talent.”

Based on what Gardner reported, the Sun Angel Collective is using its second bucket as an inducement for elite players they would like to keep or bring in. For the players it would like to keep, that is legal. They are enrolled and on the roster already.

For the players it would like to bring in— it sure sounds like it would fall under “pay-for-play.”

Remember, Arizona State football is currently in the middle of an NCAA investigation for alleged illegal recruiting practices. Burg’s reported comments are terribly timed. Perhaps he should get up to date on the ins and outs of NIL before his next chat with the media. Yikes.