Appearing on Basketball and Beyond with Coach K, Smart expressed concerns over how NIL will influence the game. He said that what "scares him the most" is people losing passion for the game in the process of making money.
“It concerns me beyond any measure,” Smart said. “Our leadership (in Greg Sankey) is tremendous and I hope that he can impart a lot of knowledge across the sports and have a lot of impact, because his leadership has been really impeccable. But what we’re headed towards is really scary. It’s scary for the coaches, it’s scary for the young men, and it’s not just about them making money. I have no problem with them making money, I’m worried about the love and the passion that are fan bases have for the game going away, and that scares me the most.”
Smart is far from the only coach expressing concern over the changes NIL has the potential to bring. His SEC rival Nick Saban has brought up similar objections.
Nevertheless, his motives for making that statement deserve to be questioned. Smart stands to lose a lot of ground in the recruiting race as NIL becomes more widespread - and more lucrative.
Kirby Smart has turned Georgia into one of college football's premier powerhouses by being one of the top recruiters in the country. He didn't have NIL to get the Bulldogs where they are today - the defending national champions.
So whether his grievances are legitimate or not, it should be no surprise that he's against anything that has the power to level the playing field.
Will NIL take down Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs?