Today’s NIL round up

Hey, look who nailed it on the first take!

If you’re a college football fan, I don’t know how you ignore that point.  Superstars like Manziel said they would have leaned towards coming back instead of jumping to the NFL early had they been able to rake in endorsement money.  And you’d think more than a few marginal (in terms of the draft, that is) kids would think differently about leaving college early if there were some level of compensation higher than what is available presently.  How is that not a good thing?

Of course, it’s an easy stance for Richt to take now.  He’s not in the coaching business anymore.  His successor’s take is much more measured.

Beyond that, it’s also revealing:  player compensation isn’t an issue for the likes of Kirby Smart as to how it might benefit players, but rather it’s a matter of how it might affect the likes of Kirby Smart to field competitive programs.

And that’s the real problem the NCAA faces.  Mark Emmert can’t, even for a second, put himself in the shoes of college athletes.  They aren’t a relevant factor in the NCAA’s calculations.

“In creating a system for allowing students to take advantage of name, image and likeness,” Emmert said, “one of the biggest concerns the working group has spent a lot of time on — and is going to keep spending time on — is how do you allow liberalization and not have it just become part of the recruiting wars? That’s going to be one of the biggest challenges in coming up with real bylaws.”

This is certainly amusing on one level.  Schools are already pouring money into things that are part of the recruiting wars.  You don’t see waterfalls and $10,000 lockers being built for MAC teams, do you?

It’s also a clear indication that the NCAA is going to look for a path that allows it to continue to bottle up the money flow.

1) Will college athletes be able to be paid for their NIL rights? The NCAA statement references athletes receiving a “benefit,” a word that might imply pay, but could alternatively mean a far more restrictive form of compensation—such as a debit account that athletes can use only for academic-related purposes (think of a gift card that only works in certain places, such as the book store or campus dining).

I can’t wait to see what Nick Saban comes up with as a workaround if a rule like that went into effect.

Still, even Emmert has a sense he’s being pushed.

“There’s no question the legislative efforts in Congress and various states has been a catalyst to change,” Emmert said. “It’s clear that schools and the presidents are listening and have heard loud and clear that everyone agrees this is an area that needs to be addressed.”

California notwithstanding, the biggest pushes are coming from Florida, which could have legislation ready to go into effect as soon as next year, and Congress, where a bill is being readied to go into effect in January of the following year.

In my mind, that’s not just an issue for the NCAA, but also for individual states and programs concerned about that level playing field Smart mentions.

A Georgia state legislator who announced plans last week to introduce a bill to allow college athletes to be compensated for their name, image and likeness was encouraged by the step the NCAA took on Tuesday.

State Rep. Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain) plans to still press forward next year with a measure modeled after a California law that would also take effect in 2023 but “will probably be less vigorous about its passage unless we don’t see movement from the NCAA.”

“That still seems like a long way off in my mind,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said Tuesday. “We’ll have to prepare and whatever they decide to go with, we’ll deal with it. I don’t have enough information to form a complete opinion on it or understand it completely.”

Smart said he can’t be sure exactly how the name, image and likeness issue will affect college football but has trust in those who are examining the issue.

“Our biggest concern as coaches across the country, is it going to be an even playing field?” Smart said. “The biggest concern is state to state of not being balanced. If it comes out balanced state to state, we’re all playing on the same playing field.”

My bet is that if the Florida legislation goes into effect next year, neither Smart nor the Georgia legislature will sound nearly so sanguine.

Then again, maybe already Georgia’s getting itself ready for a brave new world of player promotion.

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Come to Georgia and grow your brand, kids!

One side issue I’ll be very interested in following affects the antitrust legislation.  Ultimately, the NCAA rests its position on upholding amateurism on the slender reed that paying players would adversely affect consumer interest in the product.  Well, we just got a real world test of that theory — if you have a minute, go on Twitter and search NCAA 2020, or do the same on Google.  People are thrilled about the possibility of getting the game back, even if college athletes make a little money in the process.

I can’t end this without a little well-played snark.

29 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

29 responses to “Today’s NIL round up

  1. I bet many are just as excited about EA getting into the college hoops business as well as football.

    If they try something like a debit card that can only be used at the company store, I don’t imagine that will be good enough for one Jeffrey Kessler.

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    • Oh, I don’t know. Nick Saban does own a Mercedes dealership already. Why not sell a car or two through the bookstore?

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    • MDDawg

      I’m kind of surprised they ever got out of those markets to begin with. Seems like they could’ve just randomized the players’ stats (both skill stats and height/weight/etc.) across all the teams to avoid any likeness issues. Of course then you might end up with some team like Alabama having a C+ offense/defense, but half the fun was building your team up in dynasty mode anyway.

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  2. MDDawg

    If I’m not mistaken, the NCAA doesn’t require that all its member schools use the same formula when calculating their COA stipend. I know it’s not apples to apples, but if they couldn’t guarantee a level playing field with something as simple as that, I don’t have much confidence that they can handle the more complicated NIL issue.

    Assuming that NIL earnings are considered income, will states without income tax have an advantage in their recruiting pitch?

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  3. PDawg30577

    Well Richard Burr is catching unshirted hell this morning from both the left and the right for his “tax their scholarships like income” bullshit. When Amazon, Apple and Exxon start paying taxes, maybe we can get around to taxing the athletes. What a self-righteous tool.

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  4. jtp03

    I wonder if Kirby is worried about the level playing field as he rides in a helicopter around GA for recruiting visits.

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  5. Granthams replacement

    Kirby is going to unlevel the playing field with directed marketing for his players.

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  6. chopdawg

    Does anybody not think there are going to be rich boosters who are going to throw wads of money at recruits? “Come to my school and play football, and I’ll pay you $100K to be in my TV commercials?”

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      • chopdawg

        So you’re OK with that?

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        • First of all, how many businessmen are out there who will keep handing out six figure sums to 18-year olds? It’s not exactly the safest of investments. Second, why do we care what people do with their money? If you’re going to give me some scare story about how the rich will get richer, I’m not sure it’s possible for college football to become more imbalanced. Look at who’s in the running for the national title right now and get back to me.

          Also, if you’re that concerned about competitive balance, perhaps you’ll join me in arguing for a reduction in the size of scholarship rosters for FBS teams.

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          • chopdawg

            You don’t think there are a few more T. Boones out there? People who’ve already made their fortunes? And they might not be associated with traditional power schools. Maybe there’s a cowbell manufacturer in Starkville who’s sick and tired of Alabama dominating his school in football.

            And how did we get from NIL to scholarship reductions?

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            • Oh, yeah… T. Boone. How’s Oklahoma State been doing lately?

              As for your last question, if you’re concerned about a lack of parity, that’s something scholarship reductions would address.

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              • Sweet D

                But…but…what would keep your stars from paying their own way and be preferred walk-ons which would open up schollys. It’s like Tom Brady restructuring his deal so the Patriots can add an Antonio Brown. Somebody like Dana Holgerson would devise a workaround. Sigh.

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          • I keep repeating this point – once the under the table stuff that guys like chopdawg want to pretend isn’t already happening at dear ole alma mater U are out in the transparent open for everybody to see the market is going to become more efficient, if anything.

            To your point – rich boosters don’t become rich boosters by just throwing all their eggs in unsafe investments and I couldn’t possibly think of an unsafer investment than throwing gobs of advertising $ at an unproven 18 year old that may or may not generate any incremental sales to offset that cost to Billy Bob’s Ford.

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            • FlyingPeakDawg

              Transparency will also create a benefit increase over the under the table deals. Those endorsement payments will now be tax deductible so Bubba can offer $120k instead of $100k since his net cost will be the same. The IRS will be happy to get the $20k in taxes from the student-athlete they were missing before.

              I find the only reasonable economic argument against NIL endorsements is the theory that Bubba Ford will now direct payments to a select few athletes rather than then athletic department and so less money will be available to swimming, women’s lacrosse, etc. I’m not sure how true that will be overall, and I could counter argue that if Bubba is channeling money to star athletes who earn State U. championships, then more money will flow to the school in general.

              The real challenge will be on how the NCAA, conferences and schools elect to regulate this. A totally free market might settle down to reasonable amounts paid to a few star athletes at a few schools as it may prove on field results are not affected all that much so Bubba downsizes his budget for endorsements. But heavy handed regulation…in an effort to protect the children of course…could raise many unintended consequences and cause a real mess. Gee…I wonder which way this will go? 🙄

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        • DawgPhan

          Honestly, why would anyone be against it?

          Besides being a more free market solution for distributing the value created, imagine all of the incredible content that we are going to get when rich boosters start openly throwing cash at players.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. JD

    I’ll say this… I like where UGA sits as far as player endorsement access to the huge Atlanta market in the heart of SEC country.
    A lot of these kids will never be this marketable again. Let them earn some money while they can.

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  8. Argondawg

    I am absolutely for it. Although I do have serious concerns about where the game ends up in the eyes of the fans. Not so much that I would deprive anyone of their opportunity to earn what they have a right to. I just hope we don’t kill the patient trying to save it. If it becomes a semi pro team where the kids only take online classes and dont really care about the G people will absolutely find something else to do with their time. It is a delicate balance and not one that I am confident the NCAA is even remotely competent to handle. It truly is the one sport that I give a shit about. It goes south and I will find something else to do with my Saturdays in the fall. Cross your fingers

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    • If it becomes a semi pro team where the kids only take online classes and dont really care about the G people…

      I don’t know if you saw my post about Justin Fields at OSU, but that’s basically his life right now.

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      • PTC DAWG

        Missed it, got a link?

        TIA

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      • Argondawg

        I read that post and was saddned by it. Part of it for me is the shared experience of the University. I know they live a different life than the average studen but the similarities of location and classes still exist. I am sure that is a romanticized view but I think it is a view that many alumni share. I am for this change but I find it odd on here that anyone who looks at it other than with %100 faith that it is going to work out great gets boo’ed off the stage. I am sure that you have very few reserations from the gung ho way you approach this.. I wish I had your optimism that this is not going to kill or do irreperable harm to the sport. It will be interesting to see what the unintended consequences are?

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        • I’m not making any predictions on what it will do to the sport. Nor should anyone else, because we still don’t know how this is going to play out.

          All I can say is that it’s wrong for the NCAA to fix the labor market and not allow college athletes the same economic freedom their student peers have.

          You know what I don’t get? Is how you can be worried about the unintended consequences here and not be bothered by the intended ones the conferences have already inflicted on us in the name of chasing the almighty dollar. I mean, you’re still watching, right?

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          • Argondawg

            “You know what I don’t get? Is how you can be worried about the unintended consequences here and not be bothered by the intended ones the conferences have already inflicted on us in the name of chasing the almighty dollar. I mean, you’re still watching, right?”

            I dont see where I have ever said that the intended consequences of the conferences was not an issue with me. I can’t imagine that it is not an issue with everyone that pays attention.

            I still watch but not with near the fervor that I used to. All of it is getting to be a bit much. I would say I am becoming much more cynical about college football and that started quite awhile ago. In fact I have become disgusted with Universities in general watching administration positions explode along with their corresponding salaries all the while the student to professor ratios continue to widen and the cost of education skyrockets. College coaching salaries are a much more inflated symptom of a broken system.

            Honestly it would not take much for me to walk away. This change on it’s face is not that straw because I support players being able to profit off of their hard work.

            We both see half empty college stadiums all around the country and we both know to a large extent that we support a program that is probably an outlier in terms of attendance. There is a delicate balance to be maintained and to say that balance is being watched over by people who have been promoted beyond their competency is an understatment both at the university level and the national level (NCAA). The next 5 years of college football other than integration might be the most pivotal for the sport in its history,

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            • Eh, maybe.

              I read similar dire predictions after baseball lost free agency.

              I’ve yet to meet anyone who said they don’t attend football games any more because coaches and administrators are paid too much. I have heard many complain that the game day experience has systematically declined and no longer justifies the ticket cost.

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  9. Tony Barnfart

    Will this lead to a system where the only ones making any money are the skill position players and/or a few select recognizable faces every once in a while (hot rod) ? Why do I care ? I think that would be horrible for a football team. But capitalism! doesn’t move me if a kid’s only avenue is his marketability to the casual public. And yes, I realize Tom Brady kills it compared to David Andrews when it comes to Gillette commercials, but David Andrews is also being compensated handsomely by the organization whose perception of his value differs markedly from the marketing MBAs. It’s why I kind of prefer the direct payment method, even though I’m sure that’s a lost cause.

    Leaving the university stipend aside, are we going to have college O-Lineman who make 0% of what their quarterback / running backs make ? What am I missing here ?

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  10. CB

    Hmmm, no mention of the draft Derek and Mike Leach seem so concerned about. I guess that comes after they start getting a slice of the real pie.

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