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Matt McLaughlin

By JT Grist

IMC Student

Every summer thousands of kids across America pick up bats and gloves and start their little league baseball careers, dreaming of making it to the big leagues. Matt McLaughlin was no different. 

McLaughlin, a native of Tampa, Fla., received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Jacksonville State University in Alabama, where he was a four-year letterman for the Gamecock baseball team. The Gamecocks won two Ohio Valley Conference titles during McLaughlin’s four-year tenure from 2008 to 2011. 

He joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation in October of 2012 and now is a member of the NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) external team.

NIL is shaking up the way everyone looks at college football, and whether people like it or not, it is here to stay. College athletes in the past were not allowed to make money from endorsements, but signing NIL deals now allows them to do that. 

“At its best, it is allowing student-athletes to capitalize on their name, image and likeness and basically their profiles as public figures, which we think is great,” McLaughlin said. “I think they should be able to be sponsored by like Abner’s or Oby’s or whatever.”

The major concern regarding NIL deals is when it starts getting involved in recruiting. The fear is that larger, more visible schools in big markets can offer higher paying NIL deals than smaller schools.

“Yeah, where it shouldn’t turn is in recruiting, obviously. So that is where we come in just to monitor what is really going on,” McLaughlin said. “We do our best to educate our student-athletes on what they can and can’t do and try to keep them out of any trouble.”

NIL deals have made national news when it comes to recruiting, specifically regarding the transfer portal. 

The transfer portal is something that Ole Miss head football coach Lane Kiffin has not shied away from. The self-proclaimed “Portal King” has put together the number one transfer portal class for this offseason. This leaves many college football fans wondering what NIL deals offer that aid in this amazing portal class. 

“It (NIL) definitely has its plusses and minuses; I think that the way our state law is written causes issues with how hands-on we can be,” McLaughlin said. “I think it is a positive for the student-athletes, which is positive for us.”

Mclaughlin says that he wanted to work in the athletic offices because when he was a student-athlete, “I had no idea what went on behind the scenes, I had no idea like who was helping me. I knew people were helping me pick classes, I had tutors if I needed them.” 

He wanted to be able to help student-athletes so the athletes could be aware of everything going on in the crazy world of college sports and help them be able to navigate it. 

McLaughlin is married and has three-year-old triplets and an eight-year-old. “It causes some chaos sometimes, but they’re also really fun too, all at the same time.”

His path to Ole Miss was a “wandering path” he says, but he is glad to be here. His goal is to become an athletic director someday and with the mentorship of current A.D. Keith Carter, that is likely to happen.

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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