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Dusty May shares philosophy on NIL, how it'll work at Michigan: 'I do embrace it'

clayton-sayfieby:Clayton Sayfie04/13/24


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Michigan Wolverines basketball head coach Dusty May joined former U-M football All-American Jake Butt on The L.A.B, a podcast sponsored by the Champions Circle collective, and discussed the program’s NIL efforts.

May said at his introductory press conference that he spends “25 to 30 percent” of his time on NIL and attempting to provide opportunities for current and prospective players.

“It’s a daily effort,” May said on the podcast. “And that might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s not when you factor in that every single recruiting call, every Zoom. One of the three main factors always ends up being NIL, and I do embrace it.”

May added that he struggles with the “transactional nature” of NIL, that it’s “the most important thing” for some athletes.

“Even a lot of times, us coaches expect more out of these young men than we do ourselves,” the Michigan coach continued. “I’ve tried to be even transparent with my processes with jobs and whatnot. And even with our guys at FAU, they read last year that I was up for jobs and this and that, and I explained to them that we’re all sacrificing here, and I’m not telling you that to earn any more equity with you, I’m just saying that this is part of being a member of something great.

“And then you come here, and the contract, the length of years was never my priority with any of these jobs. I wanted to pursue the job that fit me and I felt like we could be the absolute best we could be.

“But then again, when these players and everyone sees how much coaches make, they naturally want a bigger piece of the pie. They deserve more than what they were getting, but it’s such an unregulated market, and you never know.

“But I do want all the players that play for us to be taken care of — and what do I mean [by] taken care of? For their parents to be able to attend games, to be able to eat what they need to eat to be a high-performing athlete.

“And obviously my goal with anyone who has NIL is to save enough money so that no matter what happens next you can have at least have a down payment on a house and you have a next egg built.

“It’s tough because everyone has a different amount — everyone’s different. It’s important, but it can’t be the most important thing, because no matter what the amount of money is, it’s not that hard to spend.”

Dusty May on Michigan’s NIL structure: ‘It’s a partnership’

May made it clear to Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel that he wants to be a “partner” when it comes to fundraising efforts. While he didn’t receive a guarantee of what kind of support the program would get, he was encouraged by the potential.

“I knew how much people love this university and want Michigan to be the best in everything,” the Michigan coach said. “There weren’t any type of guarantees or assurances. There were discussions. But I believe because of the alignment, because of the potential, because the landscape we’re in, that with the power of this university it could be done.

“But I also knew that I had to be directly involved. It’s a partnership. We have to do this together, and also it’s not as if the people who are giving aren’t getting something in return. They’re a part of our success; they should feel a part of it.

“And in all honesty, I’m not saying it can’t be done without it, but it’s rare, and it’s getting more difficult by the minute. And so, you adapt or die.”

May believes Michigan’s players should profit quite a bit.

“I do think that our athletes, our young men that are going to be here are going to be marketable,” he said. “They’re going to have real NIL deals, they’re going to have business opportunities, they’re going to have promotional opportunities — and those things are unbelievably productive for later in their lives, for these guys to speak in front of camera, for them to learn how to go to an acting class because they have to shoot a commercial. To do things like that, those things, because some of them want to go into broadcasting, it’s reps, it’s experience, it’s real-life type of stuff.”

NIL isn’t the end-all, be-all with May — nor does he want it to be for the players he brings in.

“Even guys outside of our region now, I call them, I say, ‘We need to get on a Zoom with your parents so you can really feel the impact. You know how we’re going to play, you know our teams, you’ve played against us, but the thing that I’m really going to sell is what this place can do for you outside of basketball,'” the Michigan coach revealed. “So those are the things I still believe in.

“The long-term benefits of coming to a place like this outweigh any NIL amount, but you have to have the NIL to get them here, and then I think the train will get moving.”

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