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A Solution to the NIL Problem

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This transfer portal craziness has been stirring up a lot of feelings in me about the state of college football and college athletics in general.  So, strap yourself in for my rant.


Not so long ago, college sports was seen as the last great place of amateur sports.  This was the golden standard of pure sport and we as fans reveled in the sights and sounds of these youngsters playing football just for the sheer joy of playing football.  We believed that the athletes were as unwaveringly loyal to the team they represent as we are in our support.


Sure there were quiet rumblings of "misdeeds" and "improprieties".   Deals being made with some top notch athlete and a well-healed booster in the darkened alcove of a back alley somewhere as steam rose from the utility grates and obscured the shadowy doings.  Whispers of purchased talents and skills to push a team over that proverbial edge into greatness.  As fans, we believed that the powers of the NCAA would seek out this activity with the vicious efficiency of a laser guided missile and wrongs would be made right.  Championships would be vacated (USC) and trophies would be forfeited (USC again).  


Slowly, methodically, the "old way" of college football eroded.  First, we had the transfer portal.  Those unfortunate student athletes who were, *gasp*, misled by a coach or recruiting coordinator could submit a request to leave their current team and head off to a new team where unending glory and playing time awaits.  Slowly, the once quiet rumblings of "pay to play" began to grow.  Combined with the growing sentiment that the NCAA was profiting from the student athletes (along with video game manufacturers), NIL was birthed into existence.


While I certainly can see many side of this new face of college athletics, I struggle more with the unknowns that I feel are going to eventually ruin the greatness of college sports.  College athletes are supposed to be different from the professional athletes.  They are supposed to passionately love their team and give 100% each and every time.  The professional athlete is more of a mercenary; they will go where the contract is best for them.  Now, those lines are blurring.  


Cody Orr wrote an article about this in a post on "ourdailybears.com", a website for Baylor athletics.  In that post, he stated what most of us feel:


"At least when everything was under the table, we could pretend that players chose their college for all the same reasons we did: the small class sizes, beautiful campus with large grassy area where guys play ultimate frisbee, and world renowned cancer research center for when we thought we could be pre-med, pre-law, and pre-business all at the same time."  


Professional sports understands that parity is a actually a good thing.  The Patriots dynasty made them one of the most hated sports teams in the nation.  Most professional teams will get their draft order based on their performance in order to move things towards parity.  And, professional sports has the salary caps so teams cannot buy their way into an unfair advantage (looking at you NY Yankees).  


Currently, there is absolutely no salary cap type of restriction in place in college sports.  Teams with an extensive collection of wealthy boosters can pool their resources to aim for their player(s) of choice.  Those schools that are less well off will clearly be a distinct disadvantage.  We have seen this play out over the last two years with Texas offering offensive linemen $50k.  So far, we have not yet seen the "he who spends the most wins the championship" but how far off can that be?


The Pandora's Box of NIL has been opened and now we have to live with it.  NIL is going to evolve and change as it progresses, but unless steps are taken to adjust how deals are done; we are not far away from the Have/Have Nots of college athletics where parity is long forgotten. Combine that with the current state of the transfer portal and college athletes are becoming even more mercenary-like than the pros because they aren't bound by multi-year contracts.   


How do we fix it?  Well, in MY ideal world NIL money would be available to athletes in a way that doesn't influence where they go to college.  Unfortunately, the boosters of the schools have the upper hand to provide NIL deals with the main goal of influencing where an athlete chooses to play ball.   Oh sure, you could load up booster donations with regulations...but that's already been done once before.  You could put regulations on when a student athlete can start collecting or receiving NIL moneys.  But, now you are back to the enforcement issue with the NCAA.  


Right now, I don't have an answer for this conundrum that we are in.  I have a feeling that it's going to get much worse before it gets better.  Truth is, I guess what I am missing the most is my own naivety.  I miss believing that the athletes I was watching in UofO colors were there because they hated the Huskies.  I miss thinking that they are as committed to this team and as desperate for winning seasons and a championship as I am.  


Dang you Transfer Portal and NIL...I have awakened to a reality that I cannot escape and I do not like it.

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Yours is the best solution to the NIL problem I’ve heard…


NIL cannot be conditioned on where you play!!!


It’s easy to explain and gets to the spirit of NIL, while it eliminates the boosters. 


I would love to hear the opinions of the rest of our other OBD members.








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Universal income for athletes. I like it. How it would be funded is the tricky part. 

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You make a new rule, dishonest people will find a way around it. Every idea I've thought of will not work in the current climate.


There was a time where the NCAA could have staved off what we see now but they chose to not, or couldn't, implement it. The wild west is what you get when Pandora's box is opened. Giddyap 

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On 12/8/2022 at 6:24 PM, lownslowav8r said:

Universal income for athletes. I like it. How it would be funded is the tricky part.

While I am a proponent of UBI, I don’t think of this arrangement in that frame. 


I think real businesses, NOT boosters, don’t actually care where an athlete plays, just that the athlete is successful. 


So real businesses should be perfectly happy w/wherever a player plays.


Sure you could have contracts dependent on playing in a certain league/region, but the deal is with the player and not tied to the school. 

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On 12/8/2022 at 6:29 PM, Duck 1972 said:

Every idea I've thought of will not work in the current climate.

Me too!


That’s why I love @Ktmguy2018’s idea. 


What we dislike is the boosters gaming the system. 


This solution renders the boosters less influential.


It’s so simple and really is good for players. There could be bonuses for players who transfer to teams w greater reach. 


But if a player washes out, her/his contract won’t. 



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