Hugh Freeze sends surprising message on Auburn football players signing pro-sports-style contracts

Alabama v Auburn
Alabama v Auburn / Michael Chang/GettyImages

Hugh Freeze sent a pro-player message on NIL contracts at the Regions Tradition Pro-Am in Birmingham on May 8: recruits should be able to sign the same style of contracts as his Auburn football coaching contract and pro sports style deals.

“I’ve said publicly: You need to bring it to campus, and sign them to a contract just like I sign a contract,” Freeze said (h/t “If they want a one-year contract, great. If they want a two-year contract, great. But once you sign it, just like if I leave Auburn, somebody’s got to pay Auburn money. And it should be the same way in my opinion. I think that would bring a lot more sanity to it.”

Freeze may get his wish. As Yahoo Sports' Ross Dellenger reports, Bowl Season director Nick Carparelli is trying to bring pay-to-play contracts to the Power 4 ranks sooner rather than later.

"Bowl Season director Nick Carparelli told Yahoo Sports in Phoenix that he expects NIL to soon come 'in-house' and for athletes to sign binding compensation contracts with schools that will require them to play in bowls and CFP games, eliminating or greatly reducing opt-outs," Dellenger wrote.

Auburn football in a position to become recruiting giant if NIL becomes in-house

Schools around the country are already paying players directly, as Postgame CEO and co-founder Bill Jula intimated to me during a January 31 interview. Colorado likely secured Deion Sanders' services as head coach by making Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter two of the highest-paid players in the country. Colorado doesn't even touch what powerhouses like Texas and Ohio State offer recruits, though, per Jula.

As for Auburn, the Tigers pay players through the On To Victory NIL collective. Soon enough, if/when NIL becomes pay-to-play as Carparelli is seeking, the deep pockets of the "Yella Fella," YellaWood's Jimmy Rane, may become the biggest weapon in college football recruiting.