University of Pittsburgh head football coach Pat Narduzzi ripped the state of the NCAA transfer portal, saying North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye was offered $5 million by two schools to transfer.
"It's a sad, sad deal," Narduzzi said Tuesday on 93.7 The Fan.
Maye has not entered the transfer portal, so any team contacting him would be violating NCAA rules. However, those rules have become increasingly difficult for the NCAA to enforce amid the proliferation of name, image and likeness deals for players.
Narduzzi did not name either of the schools that allegedly attempted to tamper with Maye, the reigning ACC Player of the Year. Tar Heels coach Mack Brown previously accused teams of tampering with his star quarterback.
"I can't say that [who they are], and don't ask Drake," Brown told reporters. "You know who they are. Just look at all the ones who are getting all the top recruits."
There is a simple way to solve this issue: Make athletes full-time employees and sign them to contracts that legally prohibit contact from other schools. While it's unlikely a widespread collective bargaining agreement would be reached, schools could structure player contracts with restrictive buyouts interested schools must pay if they want to poach a top star.
It's worth noting Narduzzi was under contract as Michigan State's defensive coordinator when he accepted the Pitt head coaching job. Yet, there was no outcry for a coach leaving when more money and a better opportunity came along. Brown didn't hesitate to leave North Carolina during his first tenure in 1997 when the big money came rolling in from Texas.
There are fair criticisms of the Wild West structure of NIL pacts and backdoor transfer deals. But those issues were born from decades of the NCAA—and its member schools—prohibiting players from earning money while football and college basketball blossomed into billion-dollar businesses.
Narduzzi is making significantly more than $5 million per year and has delivered precisely one 10-win season in eight years. Brown is also making $5 million per year and is having his best season since returning to North Carolina in 2019 thanks in large part to Maye, who has a salary of $0 this season.
There is not much logic behind the complaints of these coaches beyond their being used to the old way of doing business, which saw them reap the entirety of the rewards and power while players scraped by on relative crumbs and were vilified for stepping out of the system (see: Bush, Reggie).