It’s easy to be frustrated over the lack of control being exercised over NIL compensation.  It’s also easy to mock the NCAA for its (to date) ineffective approach to reining in perceived excesses.  I would argue, though, that the current situation is driven more by conscious choices made by the schools and their conferences than anything else.

Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean.  Take this:

The schools have always abhorred the idea of them paying college athletes directly.  Once the Alston ruling came down, that left NIL compensation as the default payment delivery system, a convenient way for the schools to maintain a hands off approach to player compensation.  Of course, that’s had a cost, too, as schools are now finding out what it’s like to let their boosters operate openly, and with few controls, in funneling cash to kids.

And here’s a quote from Notre Dame’s Mike Brey.

Greg Sankey, all by his lonesome, could stop the aggressive collective actions at places like Texas A&M and Tennessee today, if he wanted to, and, since it would be action taken at the conference level, there wouldn’t be a damned thing an antitrust lawyer could do to stop him.  The reason he doesn’t, then, despite all the grumbling out there, isn’t because he’s afraid of litigation.  It’s because he doesn’t want his conference to disarm unilaterally on NIL.  Again, it’s a conscious, deliberate choice on the part of the conference and its member schools.  They would rather live with what’s going on now than risk seeing schools from other conferences outbid them for talent.

If college football is living in the Wild West, it’s because the schools and the conferences have chosen not to send in the sheriff, on purpose.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

23 responses to “Abdication

  1. Derek

    Why come the conferences can anti-trust but the ncaa can’t anti-trust?


  2. NotMyCrossToBear

    No conference will self-castrate.


      • amurraycuh

        Ivy League is what you get when you actually care about the student part of “student athlete.”


        • stoopnagle


          The Ivies made this monster. They care about one thing: the size of the endowment. They just figured out they could run an investment account instead of a TV show.

          Liked by 3 people

        • miltondawg

          Ask the student athletes in 2020-21 academic year how much they think that the Ivy League cares about student athletes. Ask the student athletes that withdrew from school entirely in the 2020-21 academic year to preserve a year of eligibility because of the Ivy League’s asinine rules that you have four years of athletic eligibility that they wouldn’t give an exception for even though it was the league that shut down all sports even as schools around the country at least tried to get through seasons (and it is four years of undergraduate only and there is no red shirting to be in school for five years and play in four). And then due to uproar, the Ivy decided in February of 2021 that they would create an exception for seniors (class of 2021) to get one more year. But the caveat was that the seniors in question had to be enrolled in graduate school at the school in which they did their undergraduate work. And note that with the exception for seniors only in February of 2021, it came too late for some to apply for graduate school, some had already transferred, and some had accepted jobs post graduation. Spring sport athletes like lacrosse, baseball, softball, track and field, etc. lost basically two entire years, in other words half, of their eligibility to play college sports at any Ivy school. And then in the caring Ivy’s sense of goodwill, when asked to provide a temporary one-time exception to their rules for the classes of 2022, 2023, and 2024 (which each lost at least one year of athletic eligibility and some two years), the temporary one-time exception was denied which coupled with the Ivy’s double jeopardy rules meant that the issue was dead.


          • gurkhadawg

            That’s exactly why I told both my sons not to go to Harvard to play football. They just don’t care about student athletes. I refuse to allow that kind of mistreatment of my sons. I told them they should go to Clemson. Dabo really loves student athletes.


  3. Tony BarnFart

    Ever tried getting a decent NBA playoff ticket ? Average JoeFan would certainly disagree with Kessler that the explosion of costs has had no negative effects. I know capitalism! and all, but i’m certainly not about to cheerlead the day only employees of large industry buyers and the deepest of deep pockets can afford to go to a game.


  4. 79dawg

    It is a pretty obvious and classic collective action problem – everyone can rationalize how they have an “advantage” under the current rules, and as a result, they are unwilling to give up that “advantage”; however, most of the “advantages” are perception, not reality, and for the ones that are real, they are temporary rather than permanent. Sadly, its unlikely enough will come to their senses until its too late….


  5. Guess tweeters don’t really have to pass elementary-school grammar anymore.


  6. Would love to see Jere Morehead and Sankey sitting side by side in an interview and asked if they are ok with the collectives and how NIL is working. I’d then want the reporter ready to pounce on any hypocrisy they spew beyond hemming and hawing. They can lead and fix this right now but chose not to for $$$ over the good of the sport. Whining that the other guys may not follow is BS.


  7. Hogbody Spradlin

    The syntax in Ralph Russo’s sentence is a little like Yoda, but he’s got a point. The colleges don’t want to get into NIL governance because it would soil their pristine (multi billion dollar) financial management with tawdry profit making things, and the NCAA no longer has the manpower or willingness to do it, so it’s the conferences.


    • 79dawg

      LOL – the only difference between Greg Sankey and Mark Emmert is that Greg only has twelve bosses he’s fronting for while Mark has a few hundred…..


  8. uga97

    Ignoring & remaining silent is a school’s choice, as well as a conferences, and its also a choice to let the market valuatiobs calibrate. 2-3 years will tell us what this crap all means. Too much assumption behavior here trying to act proactive & predictive, yet NIL might need to have a “true-up” period later, rather than sooner, once the dust settles, in order to properly assess the wild west. In other words, quit crying over the $$ until u know if you lost or gained anything.


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