Pins and needles: Kirby Smart and HB 617

With Gov. Kemp scheduled to sign Georgia’s NIL legislation today, it’s worth noting that Smart was on Finebaum and had this to say about the pending law:

“You start with education,” Smart said. “You want everybody to understand as much as we can. We don’t know the rules we’re gonna play by, so it’s like playing a game that you don’t know the rules to. So everybody’s kind of on pins and needles. It’s an education process. It’s a great opportunity for student-athletes. Where it goes, I’ll be very interested to see. Because I’m a little bit more like Charles Barkley where I don’t think everybody is gonna be as marketable as some guys. When it’s not equitable, sometimes it’s tough.”

“It’s a little like COVID. The guy that manages that best, manages the egos and the problems or benefits that may come with it is probably gonna be a little bit ahead of the opponent. We’re all trying to manage it as best we can, but right now we don’t know. We don’t know enough about how it’s gonna be enforced, how it’s gonna be enacted at the state level, the federal level. We’re gonna find out in the next couple of weeks a lot about the future.”

First off, I think Smart is being a little disingenuous with his “who knows” shtick there.  Sure, you never know what politicians, especially on the federal level, will wind up doing, but it’s hard to see how anyone will be able to stick the NIL genie back in the bottle once July 1st hits and the first wave of state laws becomes effective.  Kirby, like a lot of sharp coaches, is going to be in the bunch that hopes to manage best.  I expect to hear a lot of brand helping comments from recruits visiting Athens next month, for example.  I also believe he knows exactly what’s in the new law Kemp will sign today.

That being said, I’d be lying if I claimed I’m not concerned about his “We’re gonna find out in the next couple of weeks a lot about the future” observation.  Does that reference the pooling arrangement permitted in HB 617?  Is he telegraphing worry that Morehead intends to embrace that?  I don’t know, but I hope somebody in the media asks the same kind of questions.  Maybe today would be a good time to start, if there’s a presser at today’s signing.

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UPDATE:  Subtle.

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UPDATE #2:  Take this for what it’s worth.

44 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

44 responses to “Pins and needles: Kirby Smart and HB 617

  1. I imagine Mike Raeber, UGA general counsel and former King & Spalding partner, with AA compliance has dissected this bill down to the letter. I wouldn’t doubt if Raeber (along with the general counsels at Fech, Georgia State, and GSU) had a hand in crafting the legislation.

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  2. NotMyCrossToBear

    Would the pooling be a result of someone wanting equal income for all the athletes regardless of effort/production/marketability, etc? If not, what would it be?

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    • Considering that an earlier version of the bill mandated that NIL revenue would be held in escrow until a year after an athlete left school, I’m gonna have to go with tats and weed. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • NotMyCrossToBear

        Ha! But they still get tats and weed, just not as much.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I thought the pooling arrangement may have been a construct for tax deferral for the student-athlete (a deferred comp plan), but I certainly don’t see how this would be something that would pass muster with the IRS or Georgia Department of Revenue.

        The only thing I can think of is this will be the construct in place when the conferences start to distribute NLI money on TV contracts, etc. I don’t see how the schools have any leg to stand on for an NLI agreement to sign autographs at a local store, to appear in an ad, or to be a social media influencer.

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  3. CB

    Pooling arrangement seems genius for the amateurism romantic, until recruits go to schools that let them keep their money.

    What is the thought process behind a provision that anyone with half a brain cell knows any enforcement would be incredibly short lived?

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  4. RangerRuss

    After all these years you’d think I would cease being amazed at the stupidity emanating from the government. Kirby needs to get on this mutha.

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  5. Scotty King

    I listened to Kirby’s interview on Finebaum. He has gotten as good as Mick Jagger when it comes to never answering a question directly. He could be a great politician.

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  6. Derek

    Anybody think they’ll hesitate to close any gap at the first sign of a recruiting problem all while patting themselves on the back for trying to do it the “right way” the first time around?

    I don’t.

    I also think they want to sit back and see a kid get nil $ in his pocket, and the ncaa knows, but does nothing and declares they won’t do anything in the future.

    That’s when the “free for all” will start, if at all.

    Btw, isn’t it true that the law is completely unnecessary in the sense that it just purports to supersede ncaa regs, whether it does or can, notwithstanding?

    That is to say that can’t UGA do whatever, as long as the ncaa endorses it tacitly or explicitly as BM prefers?

    Isn’t the ncaa’s reaction to the most liberal state nil law matter more than whether our state has a similar law?

    Why have a long drawn out legal battle over a star players eligibility when you can let some other team in some other state be the lab rat instead?

    In short, I fail to see the value in being courageous here. Especially when you can have such a feel good photo op without consequences instead.

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    • The NCAA has already said it won’t challenge state NIL laws, so I’m not sure what point you’re making here.

      It would be a logistical nightmare to file eight or nine lawsuits, all in different jurisdictions, with more to come.

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      • Derek

        Have the ncaa explicitly said:

        “Everyone who profits from NIL and abides by the laws of their state will maintain eligibility without question or exception?”

        Or have they simply said: “we’re not suing CA?”

        Those are pretty different things.

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        • I posted something about that earlier:

          However, NCAA president Mark Emmert told a group of athletes earlier this month that he would not punish athletes who earn NIL compensation by following their state law.

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          • Derek

            Apparently the very next sentence in the linked article is causing hesitation.

            Perhaps there is fear of “the president’s alleged statements, if ever made, are no longer operative.”

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            • If you read the article in its entirety, you’d realize the Florida legislature reversed course and returned to a 2021 start date. Without fear, apparently.

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              • Derek

                I may be alone, but I’d hesitate to put a kid’s future at risk on the basis of an alleged public statement the organization in question wouldn’t put on paper.

                Is there a recording of that statement? Is it devoid or any hedge, limitation or things like “as of this time our plan is?”

                Like I said, the law doesn’t matter anyway. What matters is what the ncaa does or doesn’t do to the kid that follows the most liberal state law.

                If a kid in state X, with no state nil law, does exactly what kid in state Y, with a nil law, the ncaa CANNOT fuck with the first kid. So again, the contours of the georgia law are largely irrelevant anyway.

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                • Well, as I just posted, evidently UGA isn’t as squeamish as you.

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                • Also, I don’t know where you get “If a kid in state X, with no state nil law, does exactly what kid in state Y, with a nil law, the ncaa CANNOT fuck with the first kid” from. The athletes speaking with Emmert asked him exactly that and he refused to concede they’d be treated the same.

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                • Derek

                  I’d like to see them try and tell a federal judge that they are a national organization with national rules but apply them differently (or not at all) in different states depending upon the whims of various state legislatures.

                  What they permit in one state will have to be permitted in all states.

                  Its either a violation or it ain’t.

                  Why not pass a georgia state law that says Herschel can come back and play his fourth year?

                  Any suggestion otherwise is nonsense.

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    • TN Dawg

      Interesting questions.

      I’m guessing legally, a state never really had to pass a law saying that any individual can be compensated for entering into a business relationship.

      So perhaps the law was necessary as pertaining to some specific language involving athletic scholarships at the state department of education?

      If not, then it really is just the GA legislature trying to rewrite NCAA eligibility requirements, which wouldn’t seem to be under their purview.

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      • Derek

        There does seem to be a bit of a “Mexican Standoff” feel to the whole thing with the states trying to figure out where they can be without put anyone’s eligibility at risk and end up looking the fool and the ncaa sitting back and waiting for the right place to draw a line in the sand where they think they can win. And rather than debating appropriate jurisdiction and authority, each side is trying to protect/extend their own fiefdoms by reading the tea leaves.

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        • “… and the ncaa sitting back and waiting for the right place to draw a line in the sand where they think they can win.”

          Yes, because if there’s one thing we know, is that the NCAA’s instincts for such have been spot on.

          Right now, they’re hoping the SCOTUS bails them out. That’s all they’ve got.

          One more thing you’re not getting. If I’m running a school trying to balance Mark Emmert’s interests against those of a legislative body that controls a chunk of my annual budget, I know whom I’m not antagonizing.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Derek

            Exactly. You wait for the excesses I’ve predicted to manifest themselves and then you pounce and reclaim your author-a-tie!

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      • 79dawg

        Correct, no state laws were necessary.
        Colleges could’ve offered NILs, other forms of compensation, etc. to kids ages ago, they just probably would’ve been kicked out of the NCAA. In fact, they could probably still be kicked out of the NCAA.
        People act like its chiseled in stone somewhere that the colleges and universities have to be members of the NCAA, which is not true and completely disingenuous. In fact, it has been used as a cover for the schools to avoid paying compensation (“the NCAA won’t let us”).
        Now that the situation has become publicly untenable, state legislators get to “ride to the rescue”, pass these bills, throw the schools some cover, and neuter the NCAA.
        All of this handwringing, and dithering has been a huge waste of time and distraction, but it is playing right into the schools’ hands (again). They get to partially pat themselves on the back for helping to do this “good thing”, still use the NCAA as cover in the future when its convenient, and most importantly, get to continue to pretend that they are institutions of higher learning instead of minor league professional football and basketball franchises….

        Liked by 1 person

        • rigger92

          Yup. Well stated. This is the real stuff that is going on. Same stuff going on in other areas too.

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  7. TN Dawg

    Two questions:

    Does the law say the players must wait until “after graduation” to receive their benefits or “after one year of leaving the team” ?

    If the latter, and I assume it must be, does this incentivize players to leave early/transfer to get their money?

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  8. The law reads that a NIL agreement can’t be used to induce a SA to attend a specific institution. So now the State is enforcing NCAA recruiting violations? This is getting messy. And the kids will now have access to legal counsel who will be obliged to review and advise their SA clients about ALL agreements, not just NIL deals. Some of that “team contract” and other signing document language is going to come under scrutiny.

    This mess doesn’t exist for a kid in computer science who invents an app while at school, or cheerleader who is a social media influencer. The NCAA (meaning the schools) could have just relaxed the rules and oversight and let the SA’s earn a little pocket money for weeds and tats. But no…they let big government stick their nose in and they will now have to bear a million unintended consequences. Good luck with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 69Dawg

      Ah yes the good old law of unintended consequences. Try this one on for size. Combine the new transfer rule with the NIL rule and you do now have free agency. Transfer from school A to our school, our guys are making a lot more money and it’s not being “taken care of” by the school. Hell they are going to have to reprint the rosters every week at this rate.

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      • 79dawg

        Correct-a-mundo!
        For those of you who don’t like B-M treating you as a “wallet” now, wait ’til [insert other team] is trying to lure our #1 QB, RB, WR, etc. ad nauseum away with more NIL money, or we’re trying to lure the “missing piece” away from another team, and B-M starts passing the hat…

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  9. Gee I wish had had Seer capability to see into the mind of CKS! Maybe we could get the CKS version of Being John Malkovich.
    How about doing a simultaneous broadcast during the Clempson game and fill us in on what CKS is thinking play by play.

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