One reason the NCAA is faring so poorly right now in the face of numerous state legislatures moving to protect college athletes’ NIL rights is because amateurism is a tougher sell when you’re not talking about putting them on a straight salary paid by the schools. I mean, how convincing is yelling “student-athlete!” at the top of your lungs when this is the argument the other side is making?
“At first we got crushed. They beat us in every avenue and we kind of anticipated that,” said Walker, the North Carolina congressman. “But with some of these states taking a look at it, we’ve been able to push back a little bit on what the truth of this legislation is and we believe it’s starting to shift to our side with people saying, ‘Yeah, a 20 year old male or female busted their rear end 40 hours a week on a volleyball court or gymnasium or football field and to tell them they have no access to their name, image or likeness isn’t right.’ Look, Nike isn’t coming in and signing 450,000 college athletes but somewhere the backup quarterback at some university can go back home and pick up 100 bucks for an appearance fee at a restaurant or a car wash or whatever, that individual should have access to be able to do so and not be the only people in this country that are banned from having that access.”
Sadly, I feel pretty sure the NCAA won’t be able to come up with an effective answer until it gets its ass kicked a few more times in the political arena.