The cartel who cried wolf

Hey, remember the good ol’ days when the NCAA predicted an apocalypse was imminent?

The NCAA, in the groundbreaking O’Bannon v. NCAA case, opposed the granting of NIL rights because it was “necessary to preserve the amateur tradition and identity of college sports.” Its chief legal counsel, Donald Remy, declared it a “scheme” that “threatens college sports as we know it.”

NCAA president Mark Emmert testified during the trial that NIL would “be tantamount to converting [college sports] into minor league sports and we know that in the U.S. minor league sports aren’t very successful either for fan support or for the fan experience.”

In the separate NCAA v. Alston case, attorney Seth Waxman argued to the Supreme Court that “the cost of labor” was a “differentiating feature” for college sports. Without it, he said, interest would decrease.

Waxman even cited an NCAA-funded study that “tested people’s reaction to giving [athletes] … a $10,000 academic award [which concluded that] something like 10% of the respondents said they would be less interested and would watch less if that’s the case.”

How’s that working out so far?

Last Saturday, some 90,887 fans packed Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to watch the Florida Gators play the Alabama Crimson Tide. It was the fifth-largest home crowd in UF history.

Across the country, 7.9 million tuned into the CBS broadcast, which is 10% higher than the 2019 average of 7.1 million for the network, which itself was the highest in nearly three decades.

That’s one game, of course, but just hours later 109,958 people saw Penn State defeat Auburn in person while 7.6 million watched on ABC. A week prior, Oregon-Ohio State put up 100,482 and 7.73 million, respectively. The week before that Clemson-Georgia delivered 8.8 million television viewers and Notre Dame-Florida State got 7.6 million

ABC said its daylong Week 3 programming was the most watched for that week since 2016. Across all networks, it took 11 weeks during the 2019 season to produce three broadcasts with at least 7.5 million viewers. This season has already delivered five such games, plus six more with audiences of 4-plus million.

No doubt this is all about to come to a crashing halt once it really sinks in with the viewing public that these games are being played by college athletes who are getting paid for their social media presence.  Ah, if only we could return to simpler times when nobody but college administrators were allowed to cash in, all in the name of doing it for the kids.


Filed under The NCAA

19 responses to “The cartel who cried wolf

  1. rigger92

    I just wanna know what Dr. Pepper marketing people are saying behind closed doors right now. Same for Bojangles.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. classiccitycanine

    Will someone go check on Derek? I’m sure he’s thrown himself off a bridge in despair.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ASEF

    NIL has definitely affected fan behavior.

    A dedicated group of them now blame every missed tackle, errant pass, dropped catch, or other bad play on NIL. Struggle win? NIL. Upset? Definitely NIL. Because these things never happened in CFB prior to NIL

    Liked by 1 person

    • mddawg

      It’s not just the average fan saying it. I heard the crew on Sirius ESPNU (Huard & Hartsock I think) saying that’s why DJ and some of the other high-profile players are struggling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ASEF

        DJs struggling because everyone around him on offense ranges somewhere between below-average to above-average. He’s the only high draft pick on that side of the ball for them right now. Ross is dropping like a stone.

        And their scheme isn’t stale. It’s moldy. All of that is coaching – recruiting, development, deployment. But sure, they blame NIL. Clemson fans, meanwhile, are aiming at Dabo and Elliott.

        Georgia balled out against them, but that offense is clearly nowhere near elite.

        Liked by 2 people

        • mddawg

          I don’t have a strong opinion on the strength of their roster either way. My only point was that the “NIL is making players suck” crowd extends beyond just a dedicated group of fans. I wonder how many of the talking heads actually believe it though versus how many are just saying it to drum up controversy.


          • ASEF

            I was responding to them, not you, and I understood it wasn’t your opinion, just something you passed along as evidence of the tendency. I guess I wasn’t clear on that front.

            Yeah, a lot of pundits are jumping in front of he “blame NIL” parade.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. There is a symbiotic relationship between marketing and the popularity of a given sport. It brings the players to a larger audience, which increases fan interest, which increases eyeballs, which increases revenue, and on and on…

    Also, something not mentioned often in the NIL conversation is that probably the best thing college football could do for its collective revenue across the sport is continue its trend of scheduling big out of conference games. That’s a big part of why this past weekend was so amazing.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Harold Miller

    The more I have learned about amateurism and it’s history, the more I see it at elitist, classist, with a touch of racist, bullshit.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Russ

      Oh, it’s definitely all of the above. Not sure if you’re a golf fan, but the sport was rife with that amateurism BS for years. The pros were usually looked down upon at the private clubs where open championships were held.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pent-up post-covid release, maybe, in those attendance numbers? Let’s see how it plays out, later this year and down the road.


  7. bigjohnson1992

    I’m glad the kids are making some extra cash, but I can’t help but think it’s affecting some of their play on the field. Focus, too much reading their own press, more partying and more girls/distractions/hangers-on around? I think trying to spend their money, showing up for car commercials and keep their posses happy, is a wee bit distracting. I’m talking to you Rattler, King, and Ukeleleigh. And others…..

    If some aren’t careful, the more money they get to today, will mean less later when it affects their draft status.

    Liked by 1 person