Lane Kiffin Oct 15, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin walks off the field during a timeout during the first quarter of the game against the Auburn Tigers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy for anyone to see that an NCAA student athlete’s ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) has changed the way recruiting works in high-level collegiate athletics. But according to Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin, NIL may play a bigger role in college football recruiting than most people even think.

This week, Lane Kiffin made it clear that for many college football recruits, NIL isn’t just a factor in their recruiting – it’s the primary factor in their recruitment.

“I think that depends where you’re at,” Kiffin said according to On3. “I’ve been pretty clear on that. I know that it’s not necessarily what an athletic director likes to hear necessarily and against what one of my colleagues says that matters, but NIL is what kids choose.”

Kiffin explained that he’s finding recruits are much more concerned about cash payments from NIL than anything else a school can offer.

“They don’t choose the size of the weight room, how many bench presses, or whether they have a personalized computer in their locker. That’s changed over the last few years and you can’t fault them,” Kiffin said.

But as Kiffin points out, this isn’t necessarily a surprise given the financial situation many of the athletes are coming from.

“You’ve got 17, 18-year-old kids, or families a lot of times that don’t have much financial resources and here’s your chance to get paid,” Kiffin said. “And so the people that say it’s ridiculous for them to chose where to play football or get their degree based off of what they get paid, that’s not very realistic.”

For better or worse, NIL has changed college football.