Ridaught: Will the NIL take joy out of sports?

NCAA logo and multiple sports

Remember when it was an NCAA violation to buy a student athlete a soda? 

Wow, have times changed. 

Not to say that athletes weren’t getting paid ‘under the table’ in the past, but there were rules and penalties if you got caught. 

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According to NCAA amateurism requirements, “the cornerstone of the amateurism rules is that student-athletes are not allowed to have received prize money (beyond the reimbursement for participation); they can’t have signed a contract with or receive benefits from an agent; they can’t receive money for promotion of products or services; and they are not allowed to make money by use of their athletic ability or fame. Additionally, student-athletes are prohibited from delaying their full-time collegiate enrollment to compete in organized sports.” 

The NIL (name, image, likeness) is changing college athletics. 

More and more states are passing NIL laws.

This new policy allows all NCAA D1, D2 and D3 student-athletes to be compensated for their NIL as of July 1, 2021, regardless of whether their state has a NIL law in place or not.

You can make an argument for or against it. 

With NIL opportunities, student athletes are able to enter into marketing and promotional deals to earn money, such as commercials, signing autographs, allowing an athlete’s name to be printed on jerseys, and more.

According to ProCon.org, there are pros and cons of NIL.

One of the goals of the National College Players Association (NCPA) states that “college athletes should have the same economic and legal rights and freedoms guaranteed to other students and US citizens. Players are people not property.”

Student athletes receiving NIL compensation are required to disclose all proof of performance of NIL activity to their university’s compliance entity.

I’m all for athletes making some additional money.

I do see how it has benefited many, but I can also see a trend. 

There are, and will be, recruits who will treat college athletics like it’s a business decision to get more money. 

Gator Nation is finding out firsthand what that’s like as prized recruit Jaden Rashada has yet to enroll at the University of Florida. 

The 5-star quarterback from California, who signed with UF last month, reportedly requested his National Letter of Intent release from Florida, although his dad denied the report. 

There are 13 millions reasons why he would.

While it’s unclear if it was an NIL deal that went south, the fact is Rashada’s decision to join the Gators looks like it stems from money—a lot of money.

Today was the last day for drop/add at UF, so if he isn’t registered by today, then he won’t be eligible for spring practice.

He’s never taken a college snap, yet he’s got a massive bargaining clause. But that’s where we’re at now with college athletics. 

I believe we are opening a Pandora’s box. 

There’s too much money being thrown at these kids, and I’m not sure they are all mature enough to handle it. 

There have always been recruiting rankings, and most people know that a 5-star player is better than a 3-star recruit, for example. 

But now there are financial rankings out there, like On3’s top 100 NIL, which includes basketball and football players.

At the top of the list?

Lebron James’ son, Bronny, who already has three NIL deals in high school and has reportedly received offers from nine college teams.

James has his own underwear collection, along with NIL deals with Nike and Beats by Dre.

Can you see where this might be headed?

Hawthorne football coach Cornelius Ingram, who played at the University of Florida, said he and his former teammates talk about this subject regularly.

“I’m not against it (NIL),” Ingram said. “The only issue I have is, ‘Will it take the joy out of the game?’ A lot of these kids are getting paid a lot of money and sometimes going to practice might not be the most important thing to them, or even performing the way they should.” 

Ingram, who described high school sports as “genuine,” said that there are other things that occur inside the locker room. 

“All of the players aren’t getting the same amount of money, so some guys might get upset,” he said. “And if they’re upset, ‘Well, I might not block for him,’ or, ‘I might not do my job to the best of my ability because I’m not getting a six-figure deal as the quarterback or the running back.’”

The flip side of that is players may not be in such a rush to jump to the NFL. 

“I don’t think too many of them would be in a rush nowadays because they’re getting paid pretty good,” Ingram said. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for it, but in certain ways they may have to switch up some things.”

Certainly this is a topic that can be debated and applauded.

Amateurism is defined as “the practicing of an activity, especially a sport, on an unpaid rather than a professional basis.”

That’s what college athletics used to be about, but it is no longer.

Is there a happy medium?

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If all the positive elements of capitalism are allowed to be destroyed, the Left will have ‘proven’ that it can’t work and we should give their ideas about the Socialist/Marxist State a try.

We’re almost there.

For the full triumph of evil, good men need do nothing.

Steven Kraft

don’t think the positives out weigh the negatives.