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LSU's Brian Kelly says Tigers 'not being outbid' while SEC boss Greg Sankey calls for regulation

Kelly made those comments in the early moments of his first SEC Media Days appearance

Moments after Greg Sankey, the Southeastern Conference’s veteran commissioner who’s guided the league to unprecedented riches and the precipice of unprecedented expansion, called for regulation of the wide-open Name, Image & Likeness marketplace that has swept college athletics across the past year, particularly ramping up in the past six months, first-year LSU coach Brian Kelly bluntly assessed his Tigers’ program’s work.

Especially when a reporter during Monday’s opening round of SEC Football Kickoff 2023 asked Kelly if LSU was at a funding disadvantage for NIL deals compared to some of its peers.

“I don’t know that we don't have as many funds,” Kelly said. “Nobody has given me any documentation that we're behind [competitors in the NIL marketplace]. I feel very comfortable as I stand here talking to you what we’re doing relative to NIL is as competitive as anybody else.

“I don’t feel like we’re being outbid by anybody.”

“Bidding” for players is, of course, what prompted Sankey’s pleas – and the SEC head hearkened for governmental oversight – to have some uniformity in what is or is not allowable as schools guarantee endorsement deals and marketing opportunities to secure student-athletes’ future services for their respective programs.

“The current unregulated marketplace calls for action,” Sankey said in Atlanta at the College Football Hall of Fame. “The NCAA is limited as it cannot put state universities in conflict with state laws and litigation limits the extent to which the NCAA will be able to govern.

“The continuing call for congressional action is important, and this action is necessary to preserve national competition.”

Sankey, who last summer received a contract extension from the SEC and was reported to make approximately $3 million annually, said the league’s football coaches unanimously supported removing boosters from the NIL process during the league’s end-of-spring meetings in Florida.

“Our football coaches were unanimous during their spring meeting discussion of NIL that booster activity must be fully removed from recruiting,” Sankey said. “Young people deserve consumer protection to ensure commitments that make do not create long-term entanglements and points of exploitation that reduce or eliminate their future earning potential.”

Kelly said he doesn't feel that the goal of NIL is to provide maximum bids to secure athlete commitments.

"I don't think that's the place of NIL, anyway," Kelly said. "So, if we're being outbid, we're going to be outbid if we had $50 million in our collective. 

"I don't feel hamstrung by that."