NIL = Hercules from 'The Sandlot'

It's Really Not That Scary People

October 29, 2019 - 7:47 pm

So, now college football as we know it is doomed and when it becomes unwatchable what are you going to do with your Saturdays? Take up cricket? Perhaps badminton? Or even lawn darts?

It’s been just 1 month since California introduced legislation that would allow student athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL, for short) and not be penalized by a loss of their scholarship. Soon after the NCAA, college athletics’ governing board, announced an intent to ban schools from states that pass such legislation from post season play. A lot has changed in the last 30 days. Multiple other states and even Republican representative from Ohio Anthony Gonzalez have introduced their own legislation.

But the biggest missing piece in the puzzle was the NCAA’s reaction. As more and more states announced their intention to draft similar legislation it was clear the NCAA had to do something. Digging their heels in was not an option.

Today, October 29th, 2019 the NCAA released a rather cryptic statement that its board of governors voted unanimously to allow college athletes to profit from their name, image and is directing all three divisions to immediately consider "updates to relevant bylaws and policies for the 21st century."

Look up. Are objects hurtling at you from on high? I didn’t think so.

Many, many, MANY people believe that an academic scholarship, food, room and board, and access to athletic and medical treatment is enough compensation for the time, effort, sacrifice, and risk these athletes (across all sports) endure in pursuit of athletic fame and glory. And I would tend to agree with it. Those things are compensation for the early mornings, the late night bus rides, and the sprained ankles. But what of the sometimes debilitating injuries athletes sustain? What of the lingering effects that might not manifest themselves for another 20 years? And what about the billions of dollars athletes are responsible for generating on behalf of their universities? Because let's not kid ourselves, you're there for the athletes. 85,000 people aren’t donning orange and white 6 times a year to watch Dabo coach. You’re there to see Trevor Lawrence throwing back shoulder fades.

The question remains, to the naysayers, what are you afraid of happening? Are you scared that the next Travis Etienne will think differently about Clemson than he did? Because that’s going to happen regardless. Clemson’s image is changing every year. Are you afraid schools in major cities will get the next five Justyn Rosses to commit and you’ll be left in a talentless lurch? Because kids choose schools for a myriad of reasons, including who’s got the best helmet design. Are you scared athletes will be put on an even higher pedestal than regular students? Because they’re already on a pretty high one now.

Endorsement opportunities will be like playing time. There’s only a finite amount of it to go around. Demand will always be there but not supply. Businesses won't want to do business with an athlete if he or she is not on the field building star power. Athletes who want more opportunities will choose the school gives them the best chance to play AND earn AND get to the next level. Being a 5-star 4th string running back at Southern Cal isn’t going to generate that many autograph sessions. Talent will be disseminated down the ranks the way it always has. Sure a few guys here or there will choose the flashy school they think gives them the best chance to earn a couple bucks on a commercial, but (outside of the commercial) that happens now…and if they’re buried on the depth chart they’ll just transfer somewhere else.

People are afraid of name, image, and likeness payments like it's the dog from 'The Sandlot'. Nobody’s sure exactly what it looks like but they’ve built it up into a mythical beast that’s as big as a house and eats kids. People are scared "it" but nobody's really sure what "it" is. We don't know what this might look like so why be afraid of an unknown entity?

Also...don't kid yourself. One Saturday of backyard croquet and you'll beg to turn on Auburn/Oregon even if the quarter back is getting paid.

Comments ()