Money makes the world go round, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. It certainly has it’s grip on college football, that’s for sure.
While it’s true that cash has a way of corrupting some people and organizations, it absolutely provides benefits and incentives as well. The evolution of college football will enhance lives and experiences for many fans and players.
Let’s start with NIL. Players now get to benefit financially off their name, image, and likeness. In layman’s terms they can make money of their own accord but are not paid directly by the university. A lot has been said about why this is a bad thing for college football, but there are no valid points as to why.
Some will point to potential cheating or coercion, a means to have an advantage in recruiting. I would argue that it actually levels the playing field. Think about it; do you really believe that no teams or boosters were offering certain “incentives” to commit to their school before the NIL implementation?
For Clemson fans, remember when we backed off a certain someone because his “handler” got involved in his recruitment? Not to name any names, but I can tell you this happened a couple years ago and he ended up heading to the hills. (Hint, hint)
Now players can actively seek compensation outside the universities, without trying to hide it. A more level playing field. Also, businesses and organizations can align themselves, financially, with the players and teams they support.
For example, Bojangles has a commercial deal with upcoming Clemson superstar DJ Uiagalelei. DJ go ahead and enjoy that Bojangles biscuit! Just not too many, or we might have to move you to offensive line.
Will larger universities and more popular teams have an advantage? Sure, but haven’t they always? The prettiest girl always gets the most offers. That’s true in all of life, not just football. More importantly, players and their families can earn compensation that will help them get a great start on life.
Think about all the players that have suffered career ending injuries in football. Would have been nice to have the NIL around back then so they would have least had a opportunity to earn financial compensation. Playing the game of football isn’t exactly an office job. You can lose your career at any time due to injury in the blink of an eye. Just ask Marcus Lattimore if he would’ve been better off with the NIL.
Next we have the era of super conferences. It’s anyone’s guess as to how it will all play out. What we know for sure, at least Clemson fans, is that more competition is a good thing.
It’s no secret that the ACC is the least competitive conference in the Power-5. Clemson could beat most ACC teams with their second string players. Can you imagine how nice it would be to look forward to games with teams like Notre Dame, Georgia, and other top 10 teams at least a couple times during the regular season?
Big games help the brand also. I can guarantee that when Clemson plays UGA, much of the college football world will be watching. It will be a primetime game, among the most anticipated opening games of all time. That’s a wonderful thing.
The problem is, after that heavyweight matchup, it’s all downhill after that for Clemson. Us fans will be watching every game intensely, but the rest of the world will view them as snoozefests. There’s not another game on the schedule that Clemson shouldn’t absolutely wipe the floor with the other team.
To stay king of the mountain, you need to have the capitol to compete with the Jones’. Recruiting budgets, facilities, equipment, and coaches are not free. Even though Clemson made the CFP last year, they still earned less revenue share than any BIG 10 or SEC school. You read that correctly. Even lovely UofSC earned more revenue share than Clemson, regardless of our success. Close to $30M more to be exact.
The question is how long is that sustainable? Especially since the SEC is going to sign the most lucrative TV deal in history within the next coupe years. Aligning with a super conference will alleviate that issue.
“The only thing that is constant is change”-Heraclitus. Watching the best sport, in all of sports, change at the rate it is can be unnerving for many. The best thing we can do is let go of our fear/doubt about the future of our beloved sport, embrace the changes, and look forward to a very exciting future!
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