Lane Kiffin had his chance to speak at SEC Media Days in Nashville on Thursday. Kiffin, Tennessee’s Josh Heupel, and South Carolina’s Shane Beamer were the final three coaches to take to the podium.
Kiffin wasted no time getting his feelings out. In his opening statement, Kiffin called the current state of college football “a disaster,” due to the transfer portal and NIL. The outspoken coach said he is happy that players are getting paid, but said the result is a “pay-for-play” system.
The coach then explained how the current landscape of college football essentially has two “free agency” periods per year with the spring and winter transfer periods.
“That’s the world we live in,” Kiffin said. “But at the same time, I don’t think that’s really good for college football. These massive overhauls of rosters every year really is not in the best interest of college football.”
While Kiffin certainly seemed unhappy with the system on Thursday, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t also taken advantage of it. Kiffin and the Ole Miss staff have added 40 scholarship players this offseason between high school recruits and transfers.
“We’ve got professional sports, except with no salary cap or luxury tax, and the result is myriad issues for coaches,” explained Kiffin. “And I’m not complaining about it ’cause we take advantage, obviously, of free agency,” he added.
While Kiffin may be unhappy, his teams have still managed to perform. Kiffin’s Rebels finished the 2022 regular season with an 8–4 record and notable wins over Kentucky, Auburn, and Texas A&M. Perhaps the most impressive development was the emergence of RB Quinshon Judkins.
Judkins led the SEC with 1,567 rushing yards in 2022 and has one of the highest NIL valuations in the nation.
Ole Miss will kick off the 2023 season against Mercer on September 2.