Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle has a reputation for being a man of action instead of a man of words.
That said, in catching up with him at the Gophers Coaches Caravan on Monday in Stillwater, one thing in particular stood out from his words: Just how much the NCAA's new policy on name, image and likeness — and student-athletes' ability to profit from it — has impacted his department and job in the not-quite-a-year since it was implemented.
You can hear the entire conversation with Coyle — which touched on his philosophy on hiring coaches, the impact of cutting programs and his thoughts on Williams Arena — on Tuesday's Daily Delivery podcast.
But I wanted to share here some of what Coyle said about the impact of NIL and trying to plan during a time of such uncertainty.
While giving kudos to Gophers compliance director Jeremiah Carter and deputy AD Julie Manning for their work with NIL and noting that he is hardly going about this alone, Coyle gave a glimpse into how much of his time it consumes.
"It's every hour. It is a conversation that I have almost every hour with every coach," Coyle said. "I am so grateful that the coaches we have in place now have been awesome. The NIL, there's so much uncertainty around it."
Coyle also chose his words carefully, saying the U of M will continue to make "value-based decisions" and educate athletes about NIL amid a "clunky" early implementation that has some schools moving fast to capitalize on its power to lure star players.
"People are going 75 right now and the speed limit is 55. We want to make sure we stay within the guardrails and that we do things the right way so that when we get more guidance nationally with what NIL is going to look like, we're in a good position," Coyle said. "We have 22 sports and we have student-athletes in every sport who have agreements right now."
Navigating that shifting landscape sounds like one of Coyle's top priorities over the next five years. Doing so as we cautiously emerge from the two-plus-year shadow cast by COVID is a challenge for anyone in Coyle's position and perhaps a familiar one to anyone trying to keep up with the pace of change during uncertain times.
"If you look at the record number of ADs who are stepping down in athletics and everywhere, it's bonkers everything we've gone through in the last 27 months," Coyle said. "I've heard people use the word we're all 'tired,' but we're also all depleted. And what can we do to recharge ourselves and get ourselves more energized. Because we have a great opportunity."