PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh football coach Pat Narduzzi thinks name, image and likeness rules were “probably” violated over the spring, not-so-subtly suggesting those violations led to star wide receiver Jordan Addison‘s decision to transfer to USC.
Without naming the Trojans and Addison specifically, Narduzzi said Monday he doesn’t think “there’s any question” his players were “tempted with [NIL inducements] one way or the other.”
Addison, who won the Biletnikoff Award last December given annually to the nation’s best receiver, entered the transfer portal just before the May 1 deadline and officially transferred to USC later in the month.
Narduzzi said he’d like to see some sort of guardrails on NIL rules and called the current setup essentially a pathway for backroom deals that are difficult for schools to regulate.
“I want our kids to make as much money as they can, but I want them to work for it and do it the right way and not just black market it,” he said.
Narduzzi, who is entering his eighth season at Pitt and led the Panthers to their first ACC championship last fall, suggested the NCAA “remove the boosters from the game.”
When it was pointed out that the head-coaching position at Pitt is officially named “Chris Bickell ’97 Head Football Coach” after Bickell — a Panther alum — donated $20 million to the program for a series of capital improvements last fall, Narduzzi clarified he’d like to see the banning of the kind of third-party “collectives” that have popped up in the last few years as NIL rules have been relaxed.
“What you’ll see throughout the country now is a booster, OK, saying, ‘Do I give my money to the athletic department or do I give it to the collective?'” he said. “I’m saying we should be giving our money to the athletic department and kind of eliminating that.”
Narduzzi added he would like to see some control over what boosters can do.
“It has to be pretty equal throughout the country,” he said. “[There] can’t be wide gaps or we are going to ruin college football.”
The Panthers open the season on Sept. 1 against West Virginia in the renewal of the “Backyard Brawl.” The series, which dates to 1895, hasn’t been played since 2011 after the longtime rivals left the Big East.
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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