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Dave Aranda clarifies comments on NIL in recruiting, warns of dangers with 'buying players'

ns_headshot_2024-clearby:Nick Schultz07/10/24


Before taking the podium at Big 12 Media Days on Wednesday, Dave Aranda offered a candid response about Baylor’s recruiting success. His answer was simple, pointing out the fact that players can get paid through NIL as a big difference.

At the end of his Q&A with reporters on the stage at Allegiant Stadium, Aranda clarified those comments. But he also issued a warning in the process.

Aranda spoke about the importance of sharing a vision and the relationships that build between staffs, parents and recruits. But he also acknowledged the “money part” is crucial in the NIL era, and there’s a line staffs have to walk.

“The balance is to be that and then not lose who you are and to not lose the relationships, not lose the authenticity and being genuine, and really caring,” Aranda said. “We talk about buying players, what you don’t want to do is make it so it’s so transactional that that’s what it is. You’re buying and discarding and off and on.

“I just feel like that’s the challenge. As coaches, we’re trying to get the best recruiting class. Really, what we’re doing is trying to be transformational and transactional.”

Baylor has been hot on the recruiting trail through the 2025 cycle. The Bears currently sit at No. 47 in the On3 Industry Team Recruiting Ranking and eighth in the Big 12. Since the beginning of June, they’ve added eight commits, including the highest-rated player in the class.

Four-star EDGE Kamauryn Morgan committed earlier this week. He checks in as the No. 131 overall prospect in the 2025 cycle, according to the On3 Industry Ranking, a weighted average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies.

Dave Aranda on how ‘the money part’ impacts recruiting

When it comes to landing those blue chip recruits, Dave Aranda said NIL is likely to come up in the pitch, as expected. While he still takes great pride in Baylor’s visits and the responses from parents, he said the process is more than just those relationships.

“In the past – and this part still holds true today – I’ve always felt really strong about our recruiting visits, our official visits, our visits of any kind. Any type of interaction, the feedback from the parents have been, ‘Hey, [these are] authentic, real people,'” Aranda said. “‘These are people that are gonna be mentors to my son, these are people that care about his education, these are people that aren’t gonna abandon my boy when things get hard. These are people that are gonna see him still and work to get him back up and where he needs to be.’ That’s always been that, and it still is that now.

“In today’s climate, that’s not enough. That hasn’t been enough. I think that’s really kind of the story of last year, in a lot of ways. Last year’s recruiting, it wasn’t enough.”

With the “money part,” though, Aranda said he notices something when talking to recruits. He sees the higher-rated players focusing more on committing for more reasons than just NIL. That’s why, the coach said, he’s embracing that side of the recruiting process.

“Now, with the money part of it – and I know it’s still shocking for people to hear it, but there’s certain guys you recruit,” Aranda said. “And the money part, it’s kind of how maybe we as a general consensus – it’s shocking to hear it – there are some people you recruit that it’s like that. But the higher ranking guy you go, it is not like that at all.

“It’s like, that’s the expectation to get into the thing. And then, when you get into the thing, it’s the escalator to go win the thing. So I think you have to say yes to that because that’s where it’s at.”