Mack Brown Indirectly Blaming UNC Football’s Recent Struggles On NIL Is Super Lame

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When the NCAA implemented its new rules on Name, Image and Likeness in July of 2021, it undeniably changed the entire landscape of college athletics. The rules not only give more power to the players — which is a great thing — but it complicated a lot of things in terms of recruiting, focus and attitude.

There are a lot of kinks that need to be worked out with NIL. While it is ultimately a very positive change to college sports, multiple college football coaches have spoken out about the things that need to change. Of the many, Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban have both made their feelings clear on the topic.

However, while discussing the issues that they have with NIL, neither Kiffin nor Saban used it as an excuse for anything going on within their programs.

The same cannot be said for UNC head coach Mack Brown. The Tar Heels have gone 7-6, 8-4 and 6-7 in the 70-year-old’s three most recent years with the team, and although he didn’t directly blame their struggles on NIL, he took a shot at the new rules and their impact.

As UNC gears up for spring practice, Brown addressed the media on Tuesday.

When the Tar Heels take the field in the fall of 2022, they will look a lot different.

“It’s really like we’re starting over,” Brown said. “You’ve got a new defense, you’ve got two new defensive coaches, you’ve got a lot of young players that are very talented, but they’re still young and haven’t proven themselves yet. You’ve got a new special teams with Coach Porter taking over, and then you’ve got a new offensive line coach that shows up here on Wednesday. So a lot of things are moving and shaking.”

For UNC to have success this year, Brown says that they need to get back to being a team, whatever that means.

“Discipline shows up with mental mistakes and penalties and we’re working really, really hard to eliminate penalties and missed assignments,” said Brown. “We did a better job in both those areas on Saturday. Really new into spring practice and didn’t do a whole lot. No game plans. But we had very, very few penalties and that’s something that helps us.”

And then he took a jab at NIL, indirectly blaming his team’s struggles on the ability for players to profit from their Name, Image and Likeness.

“Got to get back to being a team,” Brown said. “The last couple of years in our sport, transfer portal and NIL have been talked about so much. And neither one of those are something that really leans towards being a great team and pulling together. So we got to get the guys that are here to make sure that they pull together.”


What Brown is likely trying to say here is that there are a lot of outside distractions and factors that kept UNC from being focused on the task at hand. He probably thinks that his players trying to make money through NIL and trying to build their social media presence was a problem.

Brown is wrong.

Every single program in the country is dealing with the new rules on NIL. Every single coach in the country has to keep his team focused. Brown is no different.

It is his job to get the team prepared. If NIL is becoming a distraction — which it is not — then he needs to find a way to keep the focus the focus. He is responsible for having his guys ready to go.

While what he is saying certainly makes sense to some extent, it is neither the transfer portal nor Name, Image and Likeness that is keeping the Tar Heels from finding success. It is coaching, talent, practice and execution.