Home How much did the new Virginia NIL law factor into UVA Basketball transfer recruiting?

How much did the new Virginia NIL law factor into UVA Basketball transfer recruiting?

college basketball money NIL
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A new state law allowing colleges and universities in Virginia to directly pay student-athletes via NIL was signed on April 18.

A week later, on April 23, the Virginia Athletics Foundation rolled out something it’s calling the Sabre Society, through which donors can give money to any of six funds, including one for NIL compensation.

Is there a connection between the new state law, the rollout of the Sabre Society, and the recent flurry of activity for UVA Basketball from the transfer portal, which brought in a five-star former Dookie, a starter from Florida State and a key rotation player from San Diego State?

From what I’m hearing today, yes.

Word around the program is that donors have already pledged a significant sum for NIL through the Sabre Society initiative, and that helped grease the skids for Tony Bennett’s efforts to replenish his roster through the transfer portal.

The number that I was told that has already been committed is $10 million, which of course I’d have no way to verify, even through FOIA, and no way to contextualize.

Would that amount, for instance, be just for men’s basketball, for basketball and football, for all sports?

If I had to guess, I’d say all sports.

I’d also caution, the new law doesn’t take effect until July 1, so no money that would be pledged through the new Sabre Society thing could actually get into a student-athlete’s bank account until then.

Without question, though, if money would be an issue for a recruit, the money that we can assume will be available in abundance on and after July 1 due to the new state law would have to factor into the decision-making process.

What about that last scholly?

uva basketball beekman dunn
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This might also apply to Reece Beekman and Ryan Dunn, who have both entered the 2024 NBA Draft pool, but can withdraw by the May 29 deadline and return for 2024-2025.

I’ve gotten several questions from several readers yesterday and today about that one last scholarship that Bennett has out there to use for his 2024-2025 roster, and how it could be that Bennett is holding it in case either of those guys would decide to return.

I don’t know that to be the case, and if the reports floating around on the interwebs are any indication, Bennett is still very active meeting with portal prospects, looking to address the one last need for next season, at point guard.

With regard to Dunn and Beekman, I’d say, first, in the case of Dunn, he’s looking like a solid second-half-of-the-first-round pick in the June 26-27 draft, so I can’t imagine that he’ll be pulling his name out of draft consideration, barring just an awful combine season.

Beekman’s case for a possible return is the better one, though I’d say not great, just because he’s being projected anywhere from mid-second round to undrafted, and in either case, he’d have to play his way onto an NBA roster in training camp, and if he’d be unsuccessful there, he’d most likely end up in the G League on a minimum deal paying in the range of $40,000.

Even a two-way deal would pay in the range of $500,000.

It’s these relatively low salary figures on the fringes of the NBA job picture that factored into the decisions of guys like Armando Bacot, Hunter Dickinson and Zach Edey to hang around the college game an extra year or two.

Beekman would obviously address the UVA roster need for a point guard for 2024-2025, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope that this is at all in the works.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].