Report: Gophers MBB NIL Budget Has “Nearly Doubled” From Last Season

Minnesota Gophers Men's Basketball, Ben Johnson
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball team has kicked off their summer practices with both returning players and incoming freshmen on campus. It marks the start of a very important season for head coach Ben Johnson, who is off to one of the slowest starts of any coach to ever walk the Williams Arena sideline.

In a college sports world that revolves around NIL deals, life at Minnesota has been difficult for Ben, who was hired due to his recruiting prowess in an age of NCAA basketball that no longer exists; back when most players weren’t being paid and those who were, were doing it under the table.

Minnesota Gophers Men’s Basketball NIL Budget Has Doubled

But now, according to Charley Walters (Pioneer Press), the Gophers men’s basketball program has made some progress in improving its standing in the NIL world. Walters reports that Ben Johnson’s NIL budget now stands at one million dollars, an improvement from what he reported just over a month ago.

A little birdie says the Gophers men’s basketball program’s NIL budget from last year has nearly doubled to $1 million this year.

Charley Walters – Pioneer Press

This is some welcomed good news for the Gophers, which has struggled to find the type of NIL support that the football team has. Back in May, Walters reported that the Gophers basketball NIL budget was at just $625,000, significantly less than some other Big Ten schools, some of which have budgets that are four times larger.

Obviously, those problems are not dead and other schools around the country are boosting their NIL budgets every season too, but it’s at least a step in the right direction. Hopefully, this will allow Minnesota MBB to get better talent into Dinkytown and keep it here.

Related: Gopher Basketball Boosters Aiming to Raise $1 Million in NIL Money

Johnson has had an offseason of transfer portal cleanup, so far. But he was able to keep Dawson Garcia around and he’s managed to bring in a few transfers from the portal to fill the gaps left by the departure of key players like Cam Christie, Elijah Hawkins and Pharrel Payne.

Additionally, there are a couple of talented freshmen entering the fray, including top-100 recruit Isaac Asuma (Cherry HS, MN), who should be able to contribute immediately as a freshman. I don’t want to say that Ben Johnson needs a good season to save his job… but that’s certainly how it feels.

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