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Big Ten Media Days: Bama QB faces 'a lot of pressure' with ample NIL money already rolling in, Frost says

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Nebraska football head coach Scott Frost speaks with the media at the 2021 Big Ten Football Media Days.

INDIANAPOLIS — Alabama football coach Nick Saban raised eyebrows earlier this week when he revealed how much money his starting quarterback is making via name, image and likeness deals.

"Our QB (Bryce Young) has already approached ungodly numbers, and he hasn't even played yet," Saban said during the Texas High School Coaches Association convention, per Chris Hummer of 247Sports. "If I told you what it is … it's almost seven figures."

Not bad for someone who threw for one touchdown as a freshman.

The news got Nebraska coach Scott Frost's attention Thursday.

"If he's making close to a million, good for him," Frost said. "But that's a lot of pressure on a young man." 

What sort of pressure? 

"I don't know, if somebody gave me $750,000, I'd feel like I need to perform pretty well, particularly when you're 19 years old," said Frost, who led Nebraska to the 1997 national championship as its senior quarterback. "I think it's great for student-athletes that they're going to be able to capitalize on this. There's also going to be a million problems that come along with it that people aren't expecting. 

"Pressure to perform might be one of them. There's going to be a lot of other ones that we've tried to talk through to try to anticipate issues that could come up with our student-athletes. But anytime we're getting away from the purity of college sports and cheerleaders and alumni and rah-rah, the game is changing. I think in a lot of ways, those are going to be good changes. But there will be pitfalls, too."

Frost said his program doesn't have a lot of in-house rules regarding players' handling of NIL deals, which became available in college athletics only three weeks ago. 

"I just don't want it to be a distraction," he said. "We're trying to give guys an opportunity to have it be organized as well as we can. I need to protect them. I'm hearing stories from universities, particularly in another sport, where some kids are approached by agents, people trying to get them to do deals. 

"There could be a lot of distractions. There could be the wrong people talking to our kids. Hopefully, we can find a way to protect them to some degree while allowing them to take advantage of NIL." 

He said he wants his players to treat any appearance outside the program as if it's an official media-type setting. 

That's an interesting world for a 18-year-old right out of high school.

"They're always going to be representing the University of Nebraska," Frost said. "So we're going to have some simple rules about that. Mostly, we're going to help them by protecting them and making sure they're being steered in the right direction by whoever's helping them taking advantage of NIL."

Frost emphasized that coaches aren't allowed to help players make deals.  

"I don't want anything to do with that," he said. "I want to coach a team. Whatever happens away from football, I hope our guys can capitalize on NIL. But when they're in the building, I'm their coach, and that's the way I want to keep it."


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Husker sports columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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