With the landscape of college football changing drastically within the past year due to the NIL deal, many were worried about the possibilities that the changes to the name, image, likeness policies and the transfer rule policies could bring.
Many top college athletes around the country have benefitted from the newfound ability to profit off their own personal brand and marketing, along with being able to transfer to another university without having to sit out an entire season.
On June 30, 2021, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of student-athletes being able to build their own personal brands and led to the most control and freedom collegiate athletes have had in the history of college athletics.
Before any of this legislation had been passed, paying college athletes had been a highly debated topic in my high school debate classes.
This was frustrating to me because of the inaction. While all this debate among students and top sports analysts was happening, student-athletes were bringing in millions of dollars for their universities with no way to profit from their personal successes.
This latest right that the NCAA has granted has shaken up the landscape in which college coaches and other recruiters will try to pitch their university to players.
The three top quarterbacks in the nation this year, Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Caleb Williams, have all benefitted tremendously from rand deals from major corporations such as Beats, Raising Cane’s and Nissan.
Williams has been one of the more scrutinized players in the nation due to his decision to transfer from the University of Oklahoma to the University of Southern California after last season.
Many believed that the decision had been motivated by the NIL money that Williams would receive living in opportunity-rich Los Angeles rather than the more isolated Norman, Oklahoma.
Williams, as well as many of the other USC transfers, were seen as entitled and spoiled for chasing the potential NIL earnings and leaving their former teams in disarray.
However, once Williams earned the NIL deals, he quickly made sure to include everyone within the university by gifting each of the USC women’s basketball team members a pair of Beats headphones before a tournament.
Williams also recently established his own non-profit organization as well as partnered with others to focus on strategies to combat bullying and empower the youth.
While not every player will do as much for their community and teammates, having one person doing positive things with the opportunities that NIL has brought is great for the entire NCAA.
However, there are many analysts, coaches and former players that are still having issues with the current state of the college athletics world.
The notion that athletes are being bought by the universities they choose is not a valid criticism.
Each person complaining about players choosing a university based on how much they would earn would do the exact same if they were choosing a company to work for. Athletes factoring in the money that they would be able to make off NIL deals, based on the school they attend, is completely their right.
Draymond Green recently met up with his former college coach at Michigan State, Tom Izzo, to talk about how the changes to the NIL rule along with the transfer rule have reshaped college athletics and led some athletes to make poor decisions about their future.
Green recalled a game from his freshman season where he had been benched and called his mother crying and explained how he wanted to transfer but, due to the rules at the time, he was stuck there.
During Green’s senior season at Michigan State, Green was named the unanimous Big Ten Player of the Year among many other accolades at the college level.
Green is an example of how young athletes may not make the correct decision for their futures which will end up costing themselves their future and potential professional sports career.
The NCAA allows their athletes to profit from NIL deals now but has neglected to address the punishment of past players’ deals.
The most notable instance was former USC Heisman-trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush, who had all his collegiate accolades and records stripped from the books after it was found that Bush and his family received impermissible benefits.
Though the atmosphere around college sports is vastly different than in 2005, the NCAA still has yet to accept that the actions of the past are unacceptable now and were unacceptable then.
As a person who enjoys buying and wearing football jersey’s, I have always refused to purchase college jerseys because the players never profit off them. Now, if I want to buy a USC jersey, it will directly hit the pockets of the player.
The current state of collegiate sports can be best described as an ever-changing variable that allows for players to be in full control of their futures. The NIL and transfer rules being changed have ultimately given current and future athletes opportunities that athletes of the past could only dream of.
The majority of college athletes don’t go on to have futures playing professional sports but having the opportunity to gain some form of compensation for their hard work on and off the field is something to be celebrated.