Is NIL Exposing The $20B Old Guard?
Scams have riddled college sports for decades. Is name, image, and likeness showing us these debacles in plain sight.
As we approach the sixth month anniversary of NIL being live, I’ve been thinking quite frequently about this.
Is NIL showing us in plain sight the behind the scenes deals that have run college sports for decades?
Texas alums offering $50,000 to offensive lineman. (Isn’t that illegal under the cause of guarantee payment upon arrival?)
Shady car dealerships and organizations forming as third-party university NIL opportunities.
Slimy lawyers and agents playing multiple sides.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see college athletes getting compensated for their hard work…I’m one of the biggest advocates for that.
But for transparency, I also want to introduce show you some of the problems arising from NIL.
The Behind The Scenes Star Player
So you’re an attractive girl, with millions of followers on Tik Tok that just so happens to play a sport in college - congrats on signing NIL deals.
So you’re the star running back at an SEC school, with a massive fanbase and it second-hand grows your social media following - congrats on signing NIL deals.
But this brings us back to the Texas offensive lineman.
They have no real social media following and their name, image, and likeness value is pretty low, because although they are at a massive school, what value would a brand get from them?
So the shadiness of this new NIL deal comes to light.
Their NIL value is low, but their value to the teams success is extremely high.
Boosters use to slide $10k in a paper bag to players like this while on a visit.
But now, thanks to NIL, boosters can guarantee you $50,000/yr as long as you come play at the University of Texas and support the charities they use as tax breaks. Win-win for all.
Lineman - $50k payment and you seem like a nice guy supporting charity
Team - “legally” getting players paid and attracting future top recruits
Boosters - tax exemptions, better team, and charities get extra support
The players 100% deserve the money, but to try and market this as a NIL deal is ridiculous.
This isn’t about name, image, and likeness - it’s about attracting top recruits because they know a $50,000 check is waiting for them on the other side.
Under the NCAA rules this is illegal.
Will they try and stop it? Yes, I believe so.
Will they succeed? No, because NIL has created the loophole of guaranteed payments upon performing an action for a brand, company, charity or individual.
Going to be interesting to see how this plays out.
The Social Media Influencer
NIL has allowed college athletes to benefit from their name, image, and likeness.
But there’s a major flaw most people seem to be overlooking.
There are a handful of women athletes cashing in big-time NIL deals.
But is it really because of their athletic skill or is it because of their millions of social media followers?
Stating what we all know to be true…it’s the followers.
If you have 4 million followers on social media, brands are going to pay you to promote their products in posts.
It’s just that now college athletes are legally allowed to do them…we’re seeing the emergence of star female college athletes.
But most people have never even seen these female athletes play a game - they just see them on Tik Tok or Instagram promoting a brand.
So they’re really just influencers, as people know them from social media - not from the sport they play.
Why is this a dark side of NIL?
Because female athletes will only be able to sign deals if they have large social media followings, where as for male athletes that’s not the case - Texas offensive lineman case in point.
Agents and Lawyers
When talking with kids and their family I urge them to be careful around NIL.
Instead of agents illegally getting involved with athletes while they’re in college, they are now “legally” getting involved while athletes are in high school.
The earlier you get to the kid, the greater the chance you can suck up their value while it lasts and/or grow with them if they turn into a star athlete.
Why do you think so many new NIL agencies popped up in the last year?
Why do you think so many new sports lawyers showed up out of the dark?
I’m totally for NIL, but I feel it’s my responsibility to lay out the facts and leave no stone unturned.
There are a lot of vultures out there. (There are also a lot of great agents/lawyers)
As a young athlete and their family, you have to do your due diligence and find people with the right interests, not the ones with the big shiny objects.
Be careful who you get your NIL information from - you’d be surprised at who’s holding their pockets. Many of them are wearing multiple jerseys.
I will continue to educate around NIL - I’m merely a third-party eye in the sky that wants what’s best for the athletes, while reporting the truth behind the whole industry.