This is hands down the biggest factor in recruiting. Michigan football has the resources to be the biggest player in NIL. There’s no shortage of donors, and if those in high places pushed for it, Michigan’s recruiting could change overnight.
While right now it definitely doesn’t look like that’ll play out, you’ve got to imagine that another season of recruiting struggles after winning back-to-back Big Ten titles would bring about some change.
The pressure is growing on Athletic Director Warde Manuel.
While Manuel, who has been largely anti-NIL, has begun to support certain NIL movements, he’s still not doing enough. Harbaugh and University President Santa Ono are surely going to continue having talks about NIL, and I would expect these talks to yield progress.
The issue has been clarity. With so many NIL programs, donors don’t know where to send their money. And until the entire athletic department can unify and support NIL, those donors are going to continue to hold back.
Harbaugh and Co. understand that if they don’t improve their NIL, they’re going to be left behind. We are going to see progress as the season goes on. The question is, how much progress?
That remains to be seen. Michigan has been very slow with NIL and will need to pick it up in order to stay competitive.
With other schools beginning to struggle with some of their lofty NIL promises, Michigan has a real chance to take the lead with NIL by creating a sustainable NIL program. They have all the resources to do so, it’ll just take everybody being on board.
This is going to be one of the biggest storylines of the season. If Michigan makes progress on the NIL front, things will get interesting. If not, we’re going to have big problems.