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NIL + Transfer Portal

Due to the new regulations in the NIL and transfer portal space, college athletes have more control of their own destinies than ever and as a result schools have less control than ever.

Conference Domination

The issue that lies deep in the NIL/Transfer Portal space is quite simple, the smaller conferences are going to be left behind. Power 5 (now Power 4) conferences have displayed how powerful they are year after year. The money that is flowing for these conferences and potential sponsors, along with the money they are collectively drawing in from TV networks presents an attractive space for incoming athletes.

Now what do we mean by smaller conferences?

Realistically, the Mountain West is in a more favorable position than most. There are schools that have high level, post season reaching teams in a lot of sports, with great facilities that will still continue to draw in great talent. However, there is a reason San Diego State were begging MW Commissioner Nevarez to get out of their contract early and head to Big 12. This deal did not end well for SDSU with the Commissioner denying their request to waive their early exit fee.

MW basketball lost its player of the year, Great Osobor (Utah State), to the transfer portal, ending in a reported $2 million NIL deal to transfer to the University of Washington in the Big 10. This is a trend that will continue to occur with many MW schools unable to offer their elite talent 7 figure NIL deals, due to most total NIL budgets being in the $1-$3 million range.

International Dilemma

A large issue with the NIL space lies in the ongoing issue that international students are unable to earn NIL money due to the fact they cannot earn money on their student F-1 visa. This presents a huge problem for international student-athletes because it provides an inequality in earning power. International’s have the same ability to bring marketability without having the opportunity to support themselves with it. For example, Purdue Basketball’s Center and 9th overall NBA Draft pick Zach Edey won the NCAA Player of the Year in consecutive years, and was denied the opportunity to earn 7 figure NIL deals. Seems unfair right? That’s because it is.

The Mountain West is actually presented an opportunity as a result of this. If Mountain West schools can recruit the best international talent, they can maintain the highest talent in the respective sports. Due to the fact these athletes aren’t worrying about NIL money they aren’t as blinded by their earning potentials. This focus has to lie in the sports where most talent isn’t homegrown, as it is in Football. The sports we’re talking about here include, basketball, golf, volleyball and soccer. Recruiting has never been more important, but in the same space has never been harder for coaches. They are truly earning their wages in this new age of college sports and recruiting.

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