In theory, most everyone is in favor of college athletes being marketed. Opposing this seems at least unrealistic and at most anti-American.
As a result, most states have now passed or introduced laws that allow it under the now well-known term “Name, Image and License” or NIL. There is NCAA and proposed federal legislation along the same lines.
In practice, the laws have created an open season of reinforcements that openly conspire to buy recruits.
Alternative NIL acronym: “It’s legal now.”
Consider Hugh Hathrock, a former University of Florida graduate who earned half a trillion dollars in the car business and donated $ 12.6 million to the Gator Booster organization in April.
So, perhaps realizing that donating directly to school may not maximize the profit for money, Hathrock started a collective, Gator Guard, to which all Florida fans can contribute.
This is not to hit Florida. Sports Illustrated, which has done an excellent report on the subject, says there are up to 100 such groups across the country.
(I couldn’t find any evidence that there was one in Penn State. Obviously, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t).
“What I’ve learned is that everyone is doing it now,” Hathrock said last week. “The picture is that if we don’t get the money, we will lose players. No matter how much a child likes Florida, if a school comes in at the last minute and says “We’ll pay $ 100,000” and we (pay) $ 10,000, they’re gone.
“That’s not going to cut it if you’re competing against A&M, Alabama and Georgia.”
A player may have to sign some autographs or make some appearances to “make” NIL money, but in essence this is no different from the mud circus that made SMU the NCAA “Death Penalty” 35 years ago. .
It’s legal now, in fact.
Not everything NIL has done is inappropriate.
In college basketball, Oscar Tshiebwe of Kentucky will be the first Wooden Award winner (national player of the year) to remain in college in 14 years. He acknowledged that NIL money is a factor in that choice, although as an exchange student in the United States with a student visa, his ability to make money is unclear.
Sean Clifford, QB of Penn State, started his own marketing company, Limitless NIL, to, according to his website, “build cutting-edge personal brands with student-athletes of like-minded ideas through the roots of education.”
Lancaster County Nick Lord is the CEO of a company, NOCAP Sports, which is an online marketplace for NIL offers, independent of schools and promoters.
All of this seems consistent with the original intent of the thing.
The Gator Guard and his brothers did not.
“(As a coach) you’ve always stayed away from the drivers,” former Boise State and Washington coach Chris Petersen told SI. “Now, they’re running it.”
How long until the promoters have input into hiring or even training decisions? If not, how long will it take for coaches to start making decisions, about game time and the like, with NIL in mind?
“Everyone wants to hide under the NIL umbrella. This is not NIL,” Rick George told Colorado AD to SI last week. “As industry leaders, we have to say, ‘This is not acceptable.’
Remember that the way to get the big NIL money, for an athlete, is to be hired. That means auctioning off as a high school student or, once in college, entering the transfer portal.
Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett may have been the MVP of college football in 2021. He was a Heisman finalist and the first QB selected in the NFL draft. But as he was already destined for the NFL when he opened the NIL casino, he only earned $ 100,000 last year.
Alabama Field Marshal Bryce Young had earned about $ 1 million in July last year, when he had never started a college game.
Pittsburgh Sports Now reported that another Pitt player, all-American WR Jordan Addison, visited USC coach Lincoln Riley in Los Angeles last month before being placed on the transfer portal, leaving Riley guilty of manipulation. PSN reports that Addison has been offered a $ 2 million NIL agreement to go to USC.
Addison is now on the portal and is reportedly being “recruited” by USC, Alabama and Texas, among others.
The NCAA and the National Association of Football Coaches are now rushing to regulate the Wild West into what has become the NIL. We’ll see.
I’m not sure they can overcome an overwhelming truth. Hugh Hathrock will not receive a penny for his Gator Guard car business. He knows it, and he doesn’t care.
“It’s all about money,” it’s like, “everything is politics,” is what people say when they want to look smart without trying to understand.
Princeton and Rutgers played the first college football game in 1869, and from there you can draw a straight line to the subject of this column.
The driving force behind this line is neither business nor profit nor greed. That’s 100 percent this: people love these things and really want to win.