Reading and hearing of how certain programs are using the NIL as a recruiting tool is a little alarming. Even worse, teams that solicit players while already on an active roster of another program with promises of NIL deals is poisonous, despicable. Worst part, there are no rules, no governing body to regulate and cry foul.
It was supposedly created as something good, giving each athlete the opportunity to use something inherently theirs for financial gain. It’s turned into something heinous, a growing cancer within the body of college athletics.
I believe that student-athletes, in some form or fashion, should be permitted to profit from their Name, Image and Likeness but not this way. As it exist today, it’s toxic and unless there are some immediate changes, it will destroy amateur sports.
It actually gives boosters direct, unfettered access to the players, offering them immediate cash, cars, whatever. I’m not naïve, I’m aware it’s always been done but there was some degree of oversight and punitive consequences, but no more.
In its current form, it appears to have widened the gap between the have’s and have nots. Just because it’s “the law” doesn’t necessarily make it right. When unlimited money is introduced in any situation, it becomes tainted.
For example, University of Texas Alumni/fans, known for their deep pockets have set up a non-profit entity to give all eighteen offensive linemen on the Longhorn’s roster $50k per year. Nick Saban, in a pre-season interview stated QB Bryce Young already had close to seven figures in NIL sponsorships, even though he had yet to start a game.
Ohio State 2022 recruit, QB Quinn Ewers, received a new car and then entered the transfer portal never even attending the school or playing a single snap.
I understand the majority of student-athletes won’t likely ever see such opportunities for major sponsorships. Take Will Shipley for instance. He is pledging a portion of his NIL earnings, selling T-shirt’s that bares his name, to a children’s hospital near his hometown. I’m sure others are doing something similar and they all should be pointed to as an example of the correct usage of NIL.
My suggestion is simple. Limited direct access to this NIL fund should be implemented. Place the money a student-athletes receives in a trust or under the control of a conservator. Then, it would become payable upon completion of their education (graduation or not) and/or amateur careers. Then, whether they enter the NFL or become entrepreneurs or enter whatever field their heart desires, they’ll have a secured growing nest egg. It’s so simple it almost makes too much sense.
While that may seem overly restrictive, they’re not out one dollar of their potential/earned money. These young men already receive cost of attendance money per month, most qualify and receive Pell Grants, their education, text books, access to a dedicated learning center, tutoring, housing, all paid. They are given clothing, they’re provided world class cuisine/nutrition and have access to cutting edge healthcare. Not to mention, the travel.
Realistically, this Pandora’s Box has been open and no one can ever contain the consequences. It has, will and always, if left in its current form, change everything, including the culture and the uniqueness that is amateur sports. The speed and greed in which this concept has spread, like a deadly virus, is too much, too soon. It is broken and it must be fixed.
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