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Boise State football: NIL goes willy-nilly

The acronym of the year in college sports is NIL, and it is imminent. Boise State has tried to stay ahead of the curve, and some Broncos are in position to benefit.
Credit: Otto Kitsinger/AP Photo
Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier poses for a selfie with a fan after an NCAA game against Marshall in Boise, Idaho, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Boise State won 14-7.

BOISE, Idaho — Tuesday, June 29, 2021.

Name, Image and Likeness. The college sports world is about to change, as—thanks to last week’s Supreme Court decision—the NCAA has been forced to come up with an interim policy to take effect on Thursday. It’s almost like, “you’re on your own.” On Monday, Boise State announced it has partnered with NOCAP Sports “to assist the Broncos’ compliance office in monitoring NIL opportunities and assuring they meet the requirements of national guidelines.” The university had taken initial NIL steps in March when it became the first member of the Mountain West to partner with INFLCR department-wide. Boise State has also partnered with TeamAltemus to provide NIL resources. Are you following this?

Let’s skip the NIL infrastructure at Boise State, which is confusing enough, and go right to this: what current Broncos football players are best positioned to take advantage on NIL? I’ll siphon off two from the offense and two from the defense. You’ve got Hank Bachmeier, who went from “Hurricane Hank” in his college debut at Florida State to “Hillbilly Hank” last summer. There’s Khalil Shakir, who is all business, all leadership, all effort—and is the Broncos’ top NFL prospect. Riley Whimpey is a funny, engaging guy, witness the backflip he did as a true freshman during introductions at a BAA preseason event in 2017. And finally there’s Kekaula Kaniho. See “Shakir, Khalil.” Same thing. Kaniho doesn’t seem like he’d seek out NIL opportunities, but they will naturally gravitate to him.

RECRUITING CATCH-UP

On the Boise State recruiting blotter, quarterback Katin Houser, who decommitted from the Broncos last Thursday, has committed to Michigan State as expected. Boise State did pick up a junior college transfer late Thursday night, though: Jalen Neal, a cornerback from College Park, GA, by way of San Bernardino Valley College, tweeted his commitment. On Friday afternoon, kicker Will Ferrin of Kaysville, UT, added his name. Ferrin had signed with Utah State in February, 2019, before going on an LDS mission. It appears that both Neal and Ferrin will be walk-ons, as neither has been added to Boise State’s official list of commits at 247 Sports. But in Neal’s case, the Broncos are still searching for depth at corner. Ferrin is unlikely to unseat incumbent kicker Jonah Dalmas, but the competition is welcome at that spot.

REHABBED BRONCOS HOOPING AGAIN

Images from Boise State men’s basketball summer workouts have shown both Abu Kigab and Emmanuel Akot on the floor for the Broncos. That tells us that Kigab has healed nicely from the shoulder separation in the regular season finale against Fresno State. The injury ended Kigab’s season, changing the dynamic for Boise State going into the Mountain West Tournament. And it tells us that the injury suffered by Akot in the NIT quarterfinal against Memphis was not that serious. Akot landed awkwardly with 32 seconds left in the 59-56 loss to the Tigers and suffered a leg injury of some sort. Kigab and Akot, the second and fourth-leading scorers respectively for the Broncos last season, will be centerpieces of a team that will be on a year-long quest to eradicate the taste of everything that happened in March.

ALEXIS MARK ON THE MOVE

The Boise State women’s basketball program had already lost its top two scorers from last season, with Jade Loville transferring to Arizona State and Mallory McGwire graduating. Now it appears the Broncos are going to see their third-leading scorer depart. Alexis Mark, who had an outstanding true freshman season, has entered the transfer portal. That’s a tough one. Mark, a 6-foot wing from Chatsworth, CA, started all 23 games for Boise State last season and was named to the Mountain West All-Freshman team after averaging 9.4 points and 6.0 rebounds. She had five double-digit rebound performances over the final eight games of the season. So who’s the feature player going to be for Boise State next season? There are two returning true sophomores to choose from: Abby Muse and assist machine Mary Kay Naro.

MOMENTUM SLOWS SLIGHTLY FOR MERRITT

Despite a Sunday fade at the Travelers Championship, there’s still a bright side for Troy Merritt. The former Boise State star has made six of seven cuts since the beginning of May and has earned $795,724 over that period. We can still call this the best stretch of his PGA Tour career. Merritt was seeking his fourth top 10 finish in the past two months in Cromwell, CT, Sunday, as he went into the final round tied for seventh, just three shots off the lead. Merritt shaved another stroke with a birdie on No. 2, but things spiraled downward with six bogeys over holes 4 through 12. The day ended with a three-over 73—and a slide to a tie for 36th. 

ALLIE O FULFILLED IN EUGENE

Allie Ostrander has nothing but a good attitude as she continues her battle against an eating disorder. The former Boise State star scratched in the 10,000-meters at the U.S. Olympic Trials Saturday after finishing eighth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase last Thursday. “Walking away from the trials with a PR, Olympic standard, and the feeling that I have a lot left to give,” Ostrander posted Friday on Instagram. “Thankful for the people that got me to the line (it was not an easy task lol).” Meanwhile, former Boise State national champion Emma Bates was in the field of 41 runners who started the 10,000. Bates wasn’t able to hang with the leaders at Hayward Field, finishing 29th. Her time of 33:21.00 was more than two minutes behind winner Emily Sisson and more than a minute short of her personal best in the event. 

HAWKS STREAK ENDS

A rare Pioneer League pitchers duel broke out Monday night at Memorial Stadium. The Boise Hawks were on the wrong end of it and saw their six-game winning streak come to an end in a 3-2 loss to the Billings Mustangs. That wasted a great start by the Hawks’ Jake McDonald, who tossed six scoreless innings and alllowed just four hits and struck out eight. Boise has still won 10 of its last 14 games after a 4-15 start.

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…June 29, 1936:

Probably the most famous and prolific sports figure in Idaho history is born. The late Harmon Killebrew spent 22 years in the major leagues—all but one with the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins. With 573 career home runs, he was the all-time leader among American League righthanded hitters until being passed by Alex Rodriguez in 2009. Of course, Killebrew hit his homers without the benefit of steroids. Harmon Killebrew would have been 85 years old today.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.) 

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