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NIL Deals are changing the landscape of college athletics. College programs and fanbases need to either adjust with the times or get left behind.
“Brandon! Why am I seeing transactions from Pizza Hut, McNellie’s, and Chinese takeout from your credit card?”
It was a conversation between my father and me quite often, “I thought I said to use for emergencies only?”
As an 18-year old freshman, pizza, “$5 Burger” Wednesdays, and Takee-Outee (my favorite Chinese restaurant), qualified as emergencies.
Give me some credit. I ran fifty-plus miles a week as a collegiate mid-distance runner. Late-night cravings were the typical emergency.
If only there was a way to make money without violating NCAA protocols.
When the NCAA finally voted in favor of athletes to make money from name, image and likeness (NIL), I wanted to fire off a tweet of how lucky these kids are.
I have to admit I’m not sure how many NIL deals I would’ve been raking in as a track athlete at a private Christian institution. Being a social ambassador for the latest communion cup company doesn’t sound like a lucrative opportunity, but a guy can dream, right?
Regardless if I would’ve made money, the possibility of signing a NIL deal sounds like a great idea. If you were wondering, I fully support athletes getting the bag.
I would like to add my unique perspective on this highly debated topic.
3:30pm-4:00pm: Prepare for practice #2
4:00pm-6:00pm: Practice #2
7:30pm-9pm: Mandatory Study hall hours
9:00pm: Unwind/social life
That’s my schedule as a RUNNER, not football, not basketball, but a distance runner. I bring no revenue to the school, and even my days are full. Imagine the schedule of an athlete who plays a big-money sport.
Head recruiting coach Zak Willis broke down the typical schedule of a D1 football player.
As you see, they have time to practice, shower, eat, and handle schoolwork. No time to make any sort of income.
“Brandon, don’t they get paid in free tuition, fancy cafeterias, and other amenities?”
Were you aware that scholarships aren’t guaranteed for four years? Most programs can cut you whenever they feel like it.
Did you know that you actually have to resign your scholarship after every semester in some sports?
Essentially the athlete is disposable, and a program can get rid of them whenever they want to without an explanation. Also, most athletes have to get their degree plan approved by the coaching staff so it won’t interfere with the workload of being a “student-ATHLETE.”
I know athletes personally having coaches tell them, “I didn’t bring you here for school; I brought you here to perform, and if you can’t do that, I’ll just go find someone else.”
Living under the constant pressure to perform athletically while managing academics, the last thing athletes have time to think about is finances.
“Ok, I’ll give you that, Brandon, BUT….doesn’t it take away from the love of the game and the pageantry while making it all about money?”
I’m glad you asked that!
Why don’t we look at the NCAA?
They made an estimated $1.2 billion from the 2021 fiscal year. Schools regularly parade athletes around to sign memorabilia, attend media appearances, market them on billboards, and do anything else they need to ensure revenue is being generated.
For years the kids saw none of it, or if they did, they put their career at risk to take it under the table.
This has been a problem, and I am glad to see the athletes finally get their fair shake in the deal. We don’t limit any other college-age adult from making money from their skillset. In actuality, we push them to do it.
Why is it any different for athletes? Is it going to ruin the game? I doubt it!
If anything, it’ll bring more diversity and parity to spreading out elite talent as it did this past signing day as Texas A&M landed the #1 football recruiting class in the country after never doing so before.
Imagine the local kid in Iowa who is getting offers from all over the country. Now Iowa or Iowa State can pitch a fantastic NIL deal to get the hometown kid to stick around.
What if that player could lead your team to a championship? Would you hate NIL then?
Here’s the truth, most people hate NIL because they fear their team won’t compete with the elites.
If your team signed the big-time recruits, you would probably sound like Alabama fans and tell other schools to step their game up.
Let’s be honest. Most people say it’s ruining the game because it’s not improving their team’s play.
Are NIL deals bad for college sports? No.
Is your school stuck in tradition and afraid to get into the game? Possibly.
Let’s face it, things evolve over time, and this change within the college landscape is way past due.
There is no more bag man, no more under the table handshake, just good business deals, and everybody is happy.
The truth is that paying the kids has never been the issue. It’s the fact that your athletes aren’t or won’t be getting paid. In return, your team is getting left behind.
Athletes deserve to secure the bag no matter the size.
Whether you are Bryce Young, the Alabama QB who has collected close to a million dollars in NIL deals, or some offensive lineman who gets to eat free. The window of time for a college athlete is incredibly small, and I want every kid to capitalize on it as long as they can.
Will the NCAA find a way to regulate it? Potentially.
The conferences can put boundaries in place, but while things are still the “wild wild west” of who’s willing to pay the most, I have one word of advice for athletes: “GET YOUR BAG!!!”
Everyone complaining about it, let go of your frustration. We all know it’s not changing. Most importantly, you’re still watching.
Sit back, relax, pop in your old vintage high school tapes of you potentially going D1 if it wasn’t for your “coach holding you back.”
Grab a cold one, call plays from your couch, and enjoy what we all love, which is the art of competition.
Except now we all get to enjoy it because everybody gets what they want.