For a time, it seemed Lane Kiffin adopted the Troll in Chief role out of necessity. First, he was young, brash, and looking to gain attention by poking Urban Meyer and Florida.
By the time he got to Florida Atlantic, Kiffin was in on the joke. Being the coach who would say (or tweet) anything brought him a new identity and much-needed attention to FAU and Ole Miss.
Now, though, Kiffin has worn the outsider's clothing so long that he can say anything and not fret about the consequences. Or maybe he was the same guy all along and we're just now in a position to hear it.
Kiffin granted an interview to Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger about the state of college football, and you'd be hard pressed to find a more candid set of answers, anywhere.
"I’ve said from the beginning, players should get paid," Kiffin said. "They do the work. Why that should be limited to a scholarship check, I disagree with. And they shouldn’t be [paid] all equal. That’s not what happens in the real world. Why does their best player get paid the same as their worst player? That’s not real life."
While most in his profession pine how college football used to be or how it should be in some undefined future, Kiffin is dealing with reality on reality's terms.
Kiffin said that the NCAA isn't riding in on white horses to save the day, and that the current, booster-funded system is sustainable.
"A professional player already has money, and they usually follow the money [in free agency]. So when you don’t have it and are three or four years away from getting money in the NFL, you take what is guaranteed," Kiffin said. "How can you blame them when a lot of them never make it to the NFL? How do you not take it?
"Why did Bryce Young not go into the portal? If you are advising Bryce Young, why do you not go into the portal and walk into Nick Saban’s office and say, ‘Hey, I want to be here, but I’ve got to protect myself so I’m going to go into the portal. And I want to come back as long as it’s matched with what I get out there.’ The kid would make 10 times what he would have made. How’s that not going to happen all the time? It should. It will."