Is it time to worry about Michigan’s 2023 recruiting class?

If some of these questions sound familiar, it’s because the past month has been a waiting game for Michigan fans.

Michigan’s most recent football commitment happened at the end of March, and the Wolverines have added two players — three-star defensive lineman Brooks Bahr and three-star running back Benjamin Hall — since early February. The men’s basketball roster remains in flux as Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate explore the NBA Draft, with the chances of both players going one-and-done looking greater by the day. Meanwhile, the topic of name, image and likeness continues to dominate the mailbag as Michigan tries to find its place in the new world of player compensation.

You’re speaking my language, Andrew, which is the language of an exasperated dad. NIL has a way of bringing out the exasperated dad in all of us. Am I sick of talking about it? Maybe a little, although I understand why it’s such a popular topic and learn more about the latest american football betting odds

These days, it’s impossible to analyze the performance of a team without acknowledging the role of NIL in roster management. Without opening up the books and doing school-to-school comparisons, it’s also difficult to isolate the impact of NIL from all of the other factors that make a successful program. I’ll do my best to answer your questions while acknowledging that, like everyone else, I’m learning about this stuff in real time.

Lots of NIL chatter. What actually is and isn’t Michigan’s "fault"? And what can Michigan do better? — AJ K.

This question gets to the crux of the issue. It’s easy to say Michigan isn’t doing enough to capitalize on NIL, but generally speaking, the boosters are driving the bus, not the schools. In some places, boosters had sophisticated NIL operations in place relatively quickly — almost as if they’d done this before. Hmmm.

Institutionally, Michigan has aligned itself with the NCAA’s stated (but thus far unenforced) policy prohibiting pay-for-play arrangements. One can debate whether that’s admirable or short-sighted, but it’s the way things tend to go at Michigan. Wealthy Michigan alumni might need to be more creative than boosters at other schools, but there should be ways to follow the letter of the law while using that vast alumni network to provide NIL opportunities.

This is going to sound ridiculous, but I say it in all seriousness: If Michigan wants to level the playing field, maybe the school should use its megaphone to advocate for player salaries. A uniform salary structure would mean players could go back to picking schools based on factors that traditionally work in Michigan’s favor: academic prestige, the college experience, top-notch coaching, etc. Navigating the gray areas is never going to be Michigan’s strong suit, so why not bring it all out in the open? It’ll never happen, but maybe it should.

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