Arizona State ‘rapidly ascending’ to be more competitive with NIL

May 23, 2024, 7:05 PM

There’s no doubt that Arizona State athletics has some catching up to do when it comes to competing in the NIL space.

It is perhaps the top task at hand for new athletic director Graham Rossini, who was officially announced as the replacement for Ray Anderson on Thursday, six months after Anderson was fired.

Rossini was asked by Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo about his mindset regarding NIL.

“We’re embracing it,” Rossini said. “We understand the importance of NIL and we’re taking that on full steam. We’ve spent every day for six or seven months now trying to find our way and build a strong foundation of NIL. You see the success that (football) coach (Kenny) Dillingham and (men’s basketball) coach (Bobby) Hurley are having in recruiting — it’s not by coincidence. They are skilled recruiters, they are elite coaches and what we are showing is that in a level playing field, recruits want to be Sun Devils.”

Some of the success Rossini is alluding to includes Hurley bringing in five-star recruit Jayden Quaintance, a top-10 overall recruit in the 2024 class that decommitted from Kentucky in early April. It put Hurley’s class as one that ranks top-10 in the country. Dillingham, meanwhile, currently has the top-rated 2025 recruiting class in the Big 12.

Both Dillingham and Hurley have struggled with how the transfer portal plus alluring NIL offers from elsewhere have allowed major talent to depart Tempe after both coaches put in so much work to initially get those players to Arizona State. Dillingham recently lost quarterback Jaden Rashada and wide receiver Elijhah Badger.

Rossini commented on the notion that Arizona State is “behind” in the NIL competition.

“We are rapidly ascending,” he said. “It’s hard to get information on the context. What I do know is we’ve got a passionate partner in the Sun Angel Collective, we’ve got a group of donors and supporters that are behind our movement in NIL and bringing donor-funded NIL to the table but we’re also lucky to be in this metropolitan area that we’ve got emerging economies (and) great partners. … That’s a unique opportunity and advantage for us.

“We have a passionate supporting and following that is going to get behind NIL. We’ve also got great corporations taht are in the Valley and they want to find their way.”

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