Maryland coach Mike Locksley reveals absurd NIL demands third-string player wanted to stay out of transfer portal

Mike Locksley, Maryland Terrapins
Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Amid a wave of college football coaches bolting for less stressful jobs with growing frustrations over the transfer portal and Name, Image and Likeness payments for players, Maryland Terrapins coach Mike Locksley is now shedding light on how wild things have gotten.

Locksley, heading into his seventh season as the Terrapins’ head coach, has been around college football for decades. From starting out at Towson State in 1992 to years spent on coaching staffs in the SEC with the Florida Gators and Alabama Crimson Tide, Locksley thought he saw everything.

  • Mike Locksley coaching record: 31-59 overall, 29-33 with Maryland Terrapins

However, in an era of NIL payments for college athletes and constant roster turnover at Maryland and other programs because of the transfer portal, Locksley is witnessing first-hand just how absurd NIL demands have gotten for some players.

In an interview with Ben Dickson of 247 Sports, Locksley voiced his frustrations with the NIL and transfer portal era. Maryland’s head coach also provided a specific example of an unnamed third-string running back who insisted on a $100,000 NIL evaluation or he would leave the program.

“Because of this portal, NIL. Your third-team tailback coming in and saying, ‘I need $100,000 or I’m going into the portal.’ And you’re like, ‘Where does this magic $100,000 number come from?’ And it just, I mean, I sat in my office and every meeting I had was basically – and we’re seven wins and going to a bowl and taking the next step – but everything coming in was like, ‘I want this. I want that.’ And the greatest team sport has now become kind of individualized.”

Maryland Terrapins coach Mike Locksley on NIL, third-string RB demanding $100,000

Locksley, 54, obviously didn’t cater to the player’s demands. While he didn’t name the player, 247 Sports does mention that backup running backs Antwain Littleton and Ramon Brown entered the transfer portal this offseason. Littleton is now set to play for Temple, while Brown hasn’t landed with a new program.

The story further captures why college football coaches are becoming increasingly frustrated with what the game has become. With NIL demands increasing and coaches having to fight to keep many players from entering the transfer portal, we’ve seen a domino effect that led to a domino effect in college football.

Boston College coach Jeff Hafley left his position abruptly to become the Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator, specifically citing exhaustion from dealing with NIL and the transfer portal. Hafley’s departure led to Ohio State offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien bolting to becoming Boston College’s head coach, which then resulted in Chip Kelly stepping down as UCLA coach to become the Buckeyes’ offensive coordinator.

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