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BYU coach Mark Pope reveals how lack of NIL support is costing recruits

Mark Pope
Photo credit: BYU Athletics

As BYU heads into the competitive Big 12 next season, head basketball coach Mark Pope worries that BYU will struggle to compete with other top programs due to their lack of monetary backing through NIL.

When asked if BYU is losing recruiting battles because of NIL, Pope responded, “The short answer is yes. Without getting into specifics, yes.”

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BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe has emphasized that the university’s NIL strategy has to adhere to the values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though no specifics have been provided, he’s mentioned the need for team-wide deals over individual ones.

BYU football coach Kalani Sitake has stressed similar points in the past.

“We want to make sure that [the NIL deals] are in line with the mission of our church and the mission of our school,” Sitake said to the Salt Lake Tribune. “The key for us is to make sure our young men understand what they represent and who they represent. We will keep the focus in line with that.”

So far, BYU has only publicly endorsed the Royal Blue Collective. The university has had one-off deals with both an NFT company and a protein bar company.

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“It’s probably never going to be [part of the process at BYU]. I don’t know if I can’t say never, but [at least] right now. … It’s going to be a complicated thing here at BYU. It’s not traditionally the way that we are,” Pope told the Salt Lake Tribune. “It’s just a very new concept here. I think it’s a concept that donors and fans are appropriately cautious about evaluating.

“We are not on the cutting edge right now of NIL. And that’s OK. That’s probably appropriate for BYU. I do think we’ll continue to grow there. And I do think it’s a massively important part of college athletics right now.”