“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,” his agent Adam Papas initially told ESPN.
Wong, who finished second on the team in scoring last season, declared for the NBA Draft earlier this week but will maintain his eligibility. The sophomore was a key member in the Hurricanes’ journey to the Elite Eight in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
“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.”
Florida’s NIL laws prohibit school employees at Miami from arranging NIL deals for athletes.
Papas, who also represents Miami’s Jordan Miller, negotiated an NIL deal for Nijel Pack, who recently transferred to the Hurricanes from Kansas State. Shortly after Pack’s commitment, Florida-based health tech company LifeWallet said it signed him to a two-year NIL deal for $400,000 a year, which also includes a car.
Wong also has a deal with LifeWallet that will not change as a result of his request. Founder John Ruiz told The Athletic Thursday that he thought “providing an ultimatum in leaving without a higher payment is not within the spirit of the NIL structures or good business practice.”
Ruiz said Friday he received a phone call from Wong’s agent and told him they weren’t going to change the deal Wong signed on April 12, but he would help him in getting other NIL deals in place.
“I spoke to the mom and I told her this is the way it works. And she agreed,” Ruiz said. “I think they just had like a knee-jerk reaction to the whole situation. I also explained to them NIL is not tied to athletic performance. So the notion that we need to compare Nijel to Isaiah or anybody else, based on athleticism, is the wrong way to approach name, image and likeness.”
“This happens a lot in business in general. What I think though, is in defense of the player and the family, there hasn’t been enough education out there for the players and families to understand how this works.”
(Photo: Quinn Harris / Getty Images)