Russell Report: Gators picked by the media to finish 5th in the SEC East

Vanderbilt received eight votes to win the east and five to win the whole conference!
Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 4:26 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - With the excitement of the college football season opening just around the corner, I hate to bring up a subject I have talked about a lot before. Yep, one more time got to talk about name, image, and likeness.  The SEC has made it clear. Something needs to be done to control NIL and the way the league wants to do it is through congressional oversight. But good luck with that happening. Florida sent a contingent to Washington led by Athletic Director Scott Stricklin to lobby congress but that effort and effort by others has produced zero results so far.

With a myriad of issues pending like if athletes will be declared employees, possible unionization of athletes and more, the biggest issue seems to be booster involvement in recruiting. Imagine a world where booster groups control what money is given to athletes and universities and athletic departments lose control and oversight of that function. Imagine if you are a smaller school that can’t keep up with the big boys in doling out NIL money, what happens to you? Did you know a new group was formed. The Collective Association that will soon release a revenue sharing model for college athletes that does not require athletes to become employees?

I’ve heard a lot of people say these kids don’t deserve the money they’re getting; I don’t buy that.  If someone offered you that kind of money when you were 18, would you have taken it? They’re not the ones at fault here, they are simply taking advantage of a marketplace that has gone wild. The model you and I grew up with is gone, the cart has gone before the horse and now everyone is trying to scramble to figure something out that makes sense for all parties concerned. So, for now, try and forget the mess we’re in and enjoy the upcoming football season.

Speaking of that, SEC Football Media Days is in the books and as usual, not much in the way of news came out the get together and not many surprises either as far as Florida is concerned. The Gators didn’t get a lot of love by the media as they were picked to finish fifth in the SEC East. Vanderbilt received eight votes to win the east and five to win the whole conference! You heard me right.

Finally, it was fun to go out last weekend to see some of the former Gator players who participated in a scrimmage at Santa Fe College with a team called Gataverse that will compete in the basketball tournament, a million-dollar winner take all tournament that is televised by ESPN. Players like Corey Brewer, Lee Humphrey, Taurean Green, Kevaughn Allen and others are on the team, coached by former Gator Assistant Coach Matt McCall and they will head to Louisville to play their first game this week.  Wish them luck. I’m Steve Russell, that’s the Russell Report!

RELATED: Russell Report: Gator Nation anticipate multi-million dollar Swamp renovations

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