PULLMAN – Jake Dickert spent some 20 minutes chatting with media during his weekly news conference on Monday. He used nearly a quarter of that time to address Washington State’s place in the name, image and likeness ecosystem.
The Cougars are “not even competitive in some aspects of the NIL,” Dickert said, explaining that college football is no longer dictated by “passion and spirit.” It’s about the dollars.
“The facts are, Washington State, we’re way behind. Not even competitive in some aspects of the NIL,” Dickert said. “In recruiting, these kids tell you what they’re getting. Oregon State probably has us by 10x. Arizona has us by 20x. USC, Washington, Oregon – who even knows. It’s a whole ‘nother planet.
“I’m very supportive of the players getting a piece of the puzzle and profiting off their name image, likeness. I’ve said that many times up here. But to think as a university and a program to be where we want to be – and we know we should be – it’s gonna be a huge part of it. It has to be, especially at the forefront of the football program.”
Dickert, whose WSU team is on a five-game losing streak ahead of Saturday’s road matchup with California, didn’t bring this up out of the blue. He didn’t use the topic to excuse the Cougs’ slide. He was asked about NIL’s place at WSU, so he answered.
In 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the NCAA can’t limit education-related benefits to athletes, paving the way for athletes to receive NIL deals.
The football transfer portal opens on Dec. 4, four weeks from Monday. Then, Dickert said, it will be “open-target season” on WSU players, whom he expects to get lucrative NIL offers from other schools. It’s already happened, Dickert said, referencing a tampering issue he says has gone wrongfully ungoverned by the NCAA.
As of Monday, Washington State’s NIL collective, the Cougar Collective, was on day 50 of its current fundraising campaign, which has raised $96,000 of its $100,000 goal.
“We’ve realized over the last couple of years the (transfer) portal will never be where we can build this program,” Dickert said. “Because the portal, you need NIL money to get portal guys, period, as we found out in the last two years, and the evidence is very heavy in that direction. So we’re going to build it from the high school (ranks), but we have to have the resources to when we develop those guys, they want to stay here and we can compensate them for that.”
On the tampering issue, Dickert said this: “Until we put some tougher guidelines and restrictions on it, I don’t think there’s much enforcement of all those type of things. We will be firm on any tampering of our players. We’ll turn it in. I think that’s important, to know that those guys are protected and we have to go through the integrity of the game the right way. But I think we all know what is actually happening out there and what the real landscape is.”