Miami's Isaiah Wong: "Increase my NIL deal or I'm out." What's next?

Isaiah Wong has been one of Jim Larrañaga's best scorers over the past two years at Miami. His freshman campaign yielded only 7.7 points per game, but he broke out in 2020-21 as a sophomore with 17.1 points per game. Wong steadily provided some offensive firepower this year for the Canes, chipping in a solid 15.3 per game.


Now, in a dilemma which is sure to be the first of its kind, Wong is negotiating...for a raise of sorts.

Isaiah Wong is on a solid trajectory at Miami, but now it could be in jeopardy. PIC: Michael Allio, Icon Sportswire


NEXT Sports Agency's Adam Papas, who represents Wong, says that if his client's Name/Image/Likeness compensation isn't increased, he'll enter the transfer portal, per Jeff Borzello and Jonathan Givony of ESPN.


Here was an excerpt from their exclusive they released on ESPN on Thursday.

"If Isaiah and his family don't feel that the NIL number meets their expectations they will be entering the transfer portal tomorrow, while maintaining his eligibility in the NBA draft and going through the draft process," Papas said. Wong, a two-time ACC All-Conference player and the second-leading scorer on a Hurricanes team that reached the NCAA tournament's Elite Eight, declared for the draft earlier this week. "Isaiah would like to stay at Miami," Papas said. "He had a great season leading his team to the Elite Eight. He has seen what incoming Miami Hurricane basketball players are getting in NIL and would like his NIL to reflect that he was a team leader of an Elite Eight team."

Wong, a two-time ACC All-Conference player and the second-leading scorer on a Hurricanes team that reached the NCAA tournament's Elite Eight, declared for the draft earlier this week.

"Isaiah would like to stay at Miami," Papas said. "He had a great season leading his team to the Elite Eight. He has seen what incoming Miami Hurricane basketball players are getting in NIL and would like his NIL to reflect that he was a team leader of an Elite Eight team."


Some instant reactions come to mind.


John Ruiz, a billionaire based in Miami, is referenced is being an "accelerator" of sorts on NIL deals, specifically for the Hurricanes. It's great to see wealthy individuals getting involved in making sure college athletes are compensated correctly. What I am still not understanding at this point is how he is involved, and what he is negotiating for these athletes. Ruiz went on record saying that he could not disclose the current amount of Wong's current NIL deal with LifeWallet and other potential investors, but he reiterated that Wong is being "treated very fairly." Also, it's stated very clearly in this report that Ruiz has no interest in re-negotiating. Sounds like if Ruiz isn't involved, Wong won't get his cash.


I'm not a lawyer (nor claiming to be), but this sounds like extortion. I get it, this happens a lot in the pros with holdouts and such, and college athletes should be treated similarly...within reason. My major gripe is the fact that unless we are totally in the dark (and some violations are being committed), UMiami is not paying Wong - or any athlete - directly. If you have an employer and you want a raise, you typically go to the folks that cut your paychecks. What is Wong to gain by complaining about this to Miami and threatening to transfer? Does the school hinge too much on the financial contributions of Ruiz and others? This is really toeing the lines of legal issues here. I'm certainly no lawyer, but if you don't render the services you promised a large, wealthy company, I'm pretty sure that's going to get you in some hot water.


Regardless of Wong's fate, we're going to get a breakthrough NIL case, and the first of its kind.

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