Shortly after winning the National Championship against his former boss and mentor Nick Saban, Georgian Kirby Smart sat down for an interview on ESPN’s Rece Davis. The two talked about the fantastic season that Smart and Georgia have just concluded, along with gathering Smart’s thoughts on the state of college football.
As everyone knows well by now, the sport is changing rapidly, especially over the past 12 months. The introduction of name, image, and likeness by the NCAA made history by allowing college athletes to finally make money from their name, image, and likeness, along with the growing popularity of the NCAA transfer portal, which creates a College Football version of a free agency.
While these changes seem fine and good for the normal development of the sport, they also show signs of potential damage. Many coaches, even smart, notorious workaholics, have begun to wriggle out of the massive time commitment and chaos that it now requires to work as a college coach. Coaches are responsible for preparing their teams from week to week for matches. However, they are also responsible for recruiting not only high school talent but also transfer portal additions and recruiting their roster to try to keep everyone happy.
He told Smart Davis that this seemingly endless schedule and its effect on coaches is one of his biggest concerns, “My number one concern: the best leaders and the best men who run him and organize with him are leaving. Because you said relentlessly, the best coaches go to the NFL because they get more time with their families.”
Now quick to steer to where we are now, former offensive line coach Matt Locke appears to be the first example of good coaches leaving college football. Locke stated in his statement that the reason for leaving Georgia was his desire to do so “Shift my focus to spending more time with my family.”
Smart best summed up why the majority of coaches are leaving college football for the NFL or some have left the game altogether.
“They don’t want any part of the NIL, the gate, the ongoing recruitment. And she says, ‘Well, why not?” They come out of this game saying, ‘I’m done.’ Good meanness, great leaders, they don’t want to be separated from them. It matters to me as to the future of that. Where is she going?”
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