Brent Venables and Sooners coaches react to NIL guidelines

DUNCAN – Brent Venables is all for players benefiting from his name, image and likeness.

“I think it’s really cool that we’ve finally figured it out and created a little space for this,” the OU football coach said Thursday as the OU coaches caravan stopped at the field. Stephens County Fairgrounds.

“And with good intention. I just hope that at some point there will be some equality, some meaning, and that we won’t be child prostitutes. I wouldn’t give any of my kids an open credit card, you know, so why would you write a blank check – and that wasn’t the intent of the rule.

The NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors released guidelines earlier in the week that clarified that boosters — which include so-called “collectives” that offer players from a particular school endorsement deals – should not have contact with recruits, their families or their representatives before the player signs.

One such collective is the recently announced 1Oklahoma, which has Barry Switzer as one of its main faces.

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Sooners women’s basketball coach Jennie Baranczyk said the new guidelines won’t change much within the athletic department.

“We’re in the weeds right now, and it’s a bit chaotic,” Baranczyk said. “Are the guidelines helping us? I do not know. I think the really special thing is that I think the way Oklahoma approached it was really, really great. So the guidelines haven’t changed much for us. … We keep our ethics as high as possible, and I think that’s really important.

Baranczyk said it was “the wild Wild West” in the first 10.5 months since the NIL deals were allowed.

Venables compared it to bowling without bumpers.

“When you put the bumpers there, it stops the ball from falling into the gutter, right?” Venables said. “So you know, I think we need the bumpers or it’s going to be a train wreck. Maybe it already is. … It’s a locomotive out of control.

Venables said one of his biggest concerns with NIL was making sure his players were prepared for tax issues and other financial considerations.

“We’re going to work really hard to educate our guys financially,” Venables said. “Financial literacy is extremely important, whether it’s taxes or an LLC, certainly how to invest money, how to open a bank account.

“Just to be smart and aware that the IRS will hit you and find you, and you’ll go to jail, OK, if you don’t follow these rules. So with all the backdoor stuff, the same people who are involved in some of the things that shouldn’t happen that will be the same people who have no skin in the game when these kids are dealing with tax evasion, and that’s sad really. And it’s going to happen. Like, it’s just down the road it’s on the front of that hood on that car where we’re going so we’re trying to do what we can to help our guys be an industry leader in that domain.

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Sooners men’s basketball coach Porter Moser said he hopes the guidelines help level the playing field.

“There has to be some balance,” Moser said. “I think everyone thinks it’s about time student-athletes could take advantage of that, and I think that’s a good thing. But what will be the security barriers? And then there was no guardrail, and then it opened up. Now, I think they’re trying to take a step back, but I think like anything, we’re going to find out. We will sail there. … Eventually you have to get to the point where it’s equal, that it’s not so disconnected from the competition, and I think that’s where it has to go. But that roadmap is very, very blurry right now.

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Caravan OR Coaches notebook

Here are some other notes from Duncan’s trailer stop:

► Venables spoke about the first time he heard the OU position was opening. He was on the run when Thad Turnipseed, who is now with Venables in Norman, texted. “From Lincoln to USC?” Turnipseed texted, though Venables wasn’t sure it was real. “I thought he was trying to project.” When Venables got home, his wife asked if Joe Castiglione had called. “I still wasn’t cocky like, ‘I’m going to get the job,'” Venables said.

► Venables said he and his staff receive weekly social media reports on high-profile recruits, which include green ratings for acceptable content and red for questionable content. Venables said red markings do not necessarily disqualify a player from being drafted by the Sooners. “Everyone deserves some grace, but for us this is alarm bells – let’s check that out and look a little deeper.”

► Venables spoke again about the “fantastic camp” for donors that will take place starting a few days into training camp, which includes meetings, team meals and other team activities. Although no price was listed or mentioned, Venables said the camp would not come cheap.

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► Moser and Baranczyk have both said OU’s new streaming deal with ESPN+ is a big upgrade from the current third-tier rights package with Bally Sports. Moser called the addition “incredible” while Baranczyk said it was “huge”. “I think that’s a statement, again, for the visual impact that this brand — the OU brand — has of every program,” Baranczyk said. “I think it’s great for all of us. Yes, it will benefit women’s basketball, but it will definitely benefit all of us.

► Moser said his team will play three exhibition games this season in Barcelona and Paris, which will include the benefit of extra training before departure. Baranczyk’s side will also make a similar stint which includes games in Paris.

► Moser said he recently took his team to an OU softball practice. “Just touch their arms or something, maybe by osmosis we’ll get something,” Moser said. Moser said some of his players went against some of the Sooners’ pitchers. “The best we got was a foul ball,” Moser said.

► Moser spoke about the importance of creating a strong atmosphere at the Lloyd Noble Center, and his tour of OU fraternities and sororities to try to gain support. “Damn, I learned beer pong at my age,” Moser said. “I will do anything to attract the fans.”

► Moser said he would sing the seventh inning at Chicago’s Wrigley Field on June 4 for the ninth time. The Cubs are 7-1 when Moser leads the streak.

► Baranczyk spoke about his signing class, specifically adding 6-foot-3 forward Beatrice Culliton of Overland Park, Kansas. The Sooners lacked size last season. “I was kind of done being the tallest player on the team,” Baranczyk said. Baranczyk said Culliton would have an immediate impact in the middle for the Sooners.

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