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UNC star Armando Bacot opens up on decision to return, reveals impact of NIL

Sam Gillenwater06/21/22
Article written by:On3 imageSam Gillenwater

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NIL legislation has changed the way college athletes view their time in the NCAA. North Carolina basketball’s Armando Bacot has now experienced both sides of that coin.

As a freshman and sophomore, he wasn’t able to profit off his name, image and likeness. As a junior, he was able to cash in. In a recent piece by Michael Rosenberg at SI, it reports Bacot tallied $21,000 during the Tarheels NCAA Tournament run from March 1st through June 8th. It goes on to include his mother’s estimate that his senior year earnings will “definitely (be) past half a million.”

Normally, a player like Bacot would lunge at his opportunity to leave for the NBA after a successful junior season. NIL played a part in changing his trajectory. While UNC’s roster being a contender didn’t hurt, the profit he expects next season is something he couldn’t ignore.

“(It was) a no-brainer,” said Bacot. “I get a chance to get better, get my degree, be around all my friends and then also make a lot of money.”

Bacot recognizes the shift that NIL has had on college athletics. Bacot was a Top-20 prospect in On3’s 2019 Consensus Top Basketball Recruits. He say he was “one hundred percent” offered “huge numbers, like six-figure numbers from schools” during his recruitment. At the time, that would have been an obvious violation of NCAA rules. Now it’s just another day in the business of collegiate sports.

“Looking back at it, I’m surprised I didn’t look into it more,” said Bacot. “I was just so wrapped up in playing at (UNC), being able to develop here, the whole school thing.”

Although he’ll gain one of college basketball’s larger NIL revenues next season, Bacot wants to see change. From his perspective, he sees a myriad of issues that the NCAA needs to control before it’s too late.

“I think (there) should be some type of rules where you can’t recruit a player and say, ‘If you come here, I’ll give you … .’ Especially in the transfer portal. I don’t think you should be able to bid on players,” he said. “I guess that’s why you see so many changes in the NCAA with people stepping down and leaving and coaches leaving. It’s just the wild, wild west.”

Bacot averaged 16.3 points per game on 56.9% shooting during his junior campaign. He finished third in the NCAA in rebounding as well with 13.1 boards per game. Along with the rest of the UNC core who elected to return, he’ll be apart of Hubert Davis’ second run in Chapel Hill after playing for a national championship in his debut season.