Andy Staples ($$) has written a massive piece about how the P5 schools (or most of them, anyway) should break off from the NCAA for football and form their own management association. I’ll skip past the macro concern I have with it (without an antitrust exemption, forming a monolithic group means the schools lose the one competitive argument they’ve had to argue; besides, somebody’s gonna have to convince me the commissioners are ready to surrender their power to a central authority) as well as my questions about some of his individual suggestions, and turn, instead, to focus on his NIL argument. Excerpts:
The people in charge now want to ensure the new NIL rules keep players from being paid to attend a certain school. This is a foolish thing to worry about. Of course, players will be paid to attend certain schools when the new rules are in effect. Players are paid under the table to attend certain schools now. Recruiting is a competitive endeavor, and opening up more avenues to pay players — because keeping those avenues closed violates their basic rights — will make it even easier to funnel money to players to choose certain schools.
… Could a booster under this system give a five-star high school quarterback a $1 million endorsement deal with the tacit agreement that the QB is getting the money because he signs with Big State? Absolutely. And when that QB gets beat out by the junior three-star (who just happens to be better because quarterback recruiting is a crapshoot), then that booster would be out $1 million and it would serve as a warning to anyone dumb enough to invest that kind of money in a 17-year-old.
… You might be saying, “But then only a few schools would get most of the best football recruits.” Yes. Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, LSU and Clemson would get most of the best football recruits. Just like they do now.
Of all the arguments against player compensation, the competitive disadvantage one is the particular line I don’t get at all. Right now, the powerhouse schools successfully use their resources to enhance facilities and infrastructure to attract the top recruits. All that would change under a new compensation regime is that those resources would be redirected more efficiently to the recruits themselves. That’s hardly a sea change. Further, as Staples notes, there’s nothing stopping a school not in that group Staples cites from getting a bunch of boosters to pony up a fund to go out and battle them to attract recruits.
Now, you may not like watching the sausage being made, and I get that. But I don’t understand the argument that somehow this is going to increase the lack of parity in college football.