NIL News and Notes

May 12th

Proposal: Eliminate one-time transfer rule to curtail NIL transfers 

From CBS Sports … Former College Football Playoff chair Gary Barta believes he has a solution for the quickly ballooning name, image and likeness market, which has the NCAA and its member institutions scrambling for guardrails nearly a year after its inception. Barta, Iowa’s athletic director, suggested on the “Fight for Iowa” podcast Thursday that repealing the NCAA’s one-time transfer policy would slow a feverish transfer market fueled by booster collectives disguising pay-for-play deals as NIL.

Enacted a year ago, the policy allows undergraduates to transfer one time while maintaining immediate eligibility.

“The transfers — again, allowing a student transfer without having to sit a year — if it wasn’t for NIL, it’s a good move … a good idea,” said Barta. “Now, when you combine it with NIL, it has just become what many have called it: the ‘Wild, Wild, West.’ One idea … and I’m pursuing this and throwing it out [there] is, if we can’t totally control NIL, then let’s go back and put a one-year [sit]. If you transfer, you don’t have to lose your scholarship, but you must sit out a year. Because we can control that. And that I think [it] would slow down the NIL deals because a booster isn’t going to offer a student-athlete a big sum of money if they know they come to their university and have to sit out a year.”

Unlike others in his position, Barta called NIL “a good thing … but what has happened is it is now being used for recruiting inducements. That was never intended. It still is against the rules, but it’s blatantly being abused.”

The NCAA agrees. The Board of Directors released new guidance on Monday in an effort to dissuade boosters and collectives from promising high school prospects and potential transfers NIL deals.

It’s possible reverting back to a previous rule forcing athletes to sit out a year of competition after transferring could curtail the massive influx of portal entrants hoping to cash in on more lucrative NIL deals elsewhere. Booster collectives that have popped up to support their school’s NIL endeavors have a target squarely on their back now.

The NCAA’s blanket year of eligibility in the wake of COVID-19 has also contributed to roster management difficulty, however, and putting the toothpaste back in the tube by restricting freedom of mobility for players just one year after they gained it could prove difficult.

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May 10th 

NCAA Board of Directors issues NIL guidelines (but will they – can they – be enforced?)

From CBS Sports … The NCAA Division I Board of Directors announced new guidelines in regards to name, image and likeness on Monday with emphasis on recruiting —  specifically targeting inducements and new NIL collectives that have formed across the country. CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd previously reported the guidelines would be presented to member schools on Monday.

The guidance clarifies existing rules that explicitly disallow boosters from recruiting through either interaction or providing direct aid to recruits. The new clarification takes specific aim at so-called “collectives” created by booster factions to sign prospective student-athletes from either high school or the transfer portal to contracts.

“Today, the Division I Board of Directors took a significant first step to address some of the challenges and improper behaviors that exist in the name, image and likeness environment that may violate our long-established recruiting rules,” said Jere Morehead, chair of the board and president at Georgia. “While the NCAA may pursue the most outrageous violations that were clearly contrary to the interim policy adopted last summer, our focus is on the future.”

Definitionally, a booster is referred to as “any third-party entity that promotes an athletics program, assists with recruiting or assists with providing benefits to recruits, enrolled student-athletes or their family members.” A significant number of these collectives have popped up at major universities since the birth of the NIL era. Some have estimated the total at more than 100.

Perhaps the most notable collectives have shown up in the Southeast. Miami has publicly signed prospects to NIL deals, including a two-year, $800,000 deal with digital health app Life Wallet. The company is owned by noted Miami booster and attorney John Ruiz. Texas also started what they deemed a charity — Horns with Heart — which provides at least $50,000 to every scholarship offensive lineman on the roster. Right after the announcement of the initiative, the Longhorns landed a wave of blue-chip linemen to close out the 2022 recruiting class.

The new guidelines on Monday asked NCAA enforcement to review violations to these new rules prior to May 9 on a case-by-case basis. However, retroactive NCAA enforcement would only be expected to pursue egregious violations of the interim guidelines.

Previously, the NCAA had only issued an interim NIL policy on June 30, 2021, just one day before numerous state NIL laws went into effect after a crushing NCAA loss in the Supreme Court to clear the way. The interim rules noted that players would only be bound by state laws, that they could be repped by agents for NIL endeavors and that athletes were mandated to report NIL deals.

Continue reading story here

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May 9th 

Quotable NIL Quotes (Oklahoma and Texas coaches comments laughable)

From CBS Sports … CBS Sports offered college sports leaders the opportunity to share their thoughts on the record or anonymously. A handful of Power Five administrators, plus coaches spanning football and basketball, chose the latter option.

Good idea gone bad

  • “Certainly, the idea of NIL was not to recruit guys from other teams, induce them to come to their schools and pay them money or pay recruits on the front end, that’s not what this is about. But that’s what this has become.”I’m all for players making money off their name, image and likeness. But right now, it’s created a lot of unrest because we all feel like there’s no rules — or the rules that are there are not being enforced. It creates a lot of jealousy. If you do nothing, you’re going to fall behind. If you go extreme, you may put yourself out there to be vulnerable to sanctions down the road.” — Ohio State football coach Ryan Day
  • “I still think the original concept of NIL is a good one. We have completely screwed it up by not being out front and not having parameters. … Nobody is on the same page. We’ve created this system now where we’re out of it. We’re completely on the outside.”Donors cutting deals with student-athletes. Probably in some instances you don’t even know about it until after it’s been cut. None of that, in my opinion, is good.” — Power Five AD
  • “Six years ago, when the cost of attendance [stipend] first started, we were taken aback when a kid asked, ‘What’s my monthly check?’ Now, we [have that] on steroids.” — Power Five football coach
  • “What about the development? What about the recruits? What about all the families that you’re selling [in recruiting prospects] that you bring in and develop? You’re throwing those [transfer] kids first in line after [players you recruited] put a lot of work in your program. That would not fly at our place.” — Power Five football coach

Wild, Wild West

  • “Mid-major coach had an agent call him. [He wanted] $200,000. ’48 hours or my guy is in the portal.’ This is a mid-major school.” — Power Five basketball coach
  • “Right now, it really is the Wild, Wild West. If you’re [Miami coach] Jim Larranaga, how are you trying to coach that team? With Isaiah Wong [whose NIL agent requested a new deal after Nigel Pack was paid more in NIL], you are really an NBA coach. You haven’t heard from Coach Larranaga. You haven’t from [AD Dan Radakovich], and you haven’t heard from the sport program administrator for men’s basketball. The only person you’ve heard from is [Miami booster and collective chief] John Ruiz and his agent.” — Power Five AD
  • “If you put together a reasonable package for a kid when he gets there, right now, most people would say the speed limit is 30 and you’re going 40. But to call someone else and pay $2 million for a kid to leave that campus, that’s like going 150 miles an hour. Until they start enforcing the speed limit, there’s no cops on the road.” — Power Five football coach
  • “They’re boosters. Where did it go off the tracks? The collectives are boosters. The guidance is you’re in violation of the rules.” — West Virginia AD Shane Lyons, chairman of the NCAA Council

Best of a bad situation

  • “First of all, I think it’s [NIL] wonderful. I took out all the [student] loans, I didn’t have any income coming from home. I paid those back until I was 38 years old. I know the value of [players] having money in their pocket. Players deserve that.” — Oklahoma football coach Brent Venables
  • “I’m a fan of NIL. What’s going on with players being able to use NIL to their benefit, I understand it. Xavier Worthy was a heck of a player. … Of course people are going to try to use NIL to entice him to go to those schools. Xavier and I have a great relationship. I was recruiting him for eight years prior to him even going to college. We’ve got a really special bond. …”Everyone thinks it’s all about money right now. Relationships still matter. I pride myself on being a relationship-based coach. I know dollars matter, too. I’m not naïve to that. But player development, connection to the players, knowing you’re supporting them in every aspect of their lives still matters.” — Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian

Read full story here

The Athletic: For some Pac-12 members, NIL has come to mean “Now, it’s legal!”

From The Athletic … The three-hour meeting of Pac-12 football coaches and athletic directors Tuesday morning inside the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale felt different than any previous similar meeting. The coaches and ADs had gathered together, along with commissioner George Kliavkoff, at the annual Fiesta Summit. The elephant in the room was the increasingly thorny issue of name, image and likeness (NIL) and its unintended consequences and the presumption that the college sports world has quickly gone over the edge.

In some coaching circles, NIL has come to mean “Now, it’s legal!” — as in schools, and more specifically their boosters, have an umbrella rule where they can pay recruits for play or to commit to their programs. What was happening under the table and behind the scenes for decades — reeling in prized recruits and transfers — is now happening above board, tasked to these newly formed, deep-pocketed collectives. Agents, seeing the money grab, had been sending their new clients, 16- and 17-year-old high school prospects, on recruiting tours to spur bidding wars as egos and, in some cases, desperation to revive powerhouse college football programs that had sunk to irrelevance, have become the biggest front-burner topic here where the majority of the college sports power brokers convened.

“We all know what is going on at some places, and it’s now the wild, Wild West,” one Power 5 head coach told The Athletic. “It’s out of control, and it’s been getting dramatically worse by the week, by the day, it seems.”

In March, The Athletic reported that a five-star 2023 recruit signed an NIL deal with a school collective that could pay him in excess of $8 million; he was to be paid $350,000 almost immediately, followed by monthly payouts escalating to more than $2 million per year once he begins his college career. Word of that deal ripped through the college sports world, kicking off a feeding frenzy.

“Do we really want to get into this world where we’re gonna induce kids that are 16 or 17 or 19 to choose their program and leave their high school or their college for what turns out to be a donor’s dollar?” another Power 5 head coach said Tuesday. “What time of message are we sending and what happens next? The coolest part of having NIL pass is being able to help kids in a scenario that they weren’t able to be helped before. Not in order to get into unrestricted free agency. There’s just that fine line between the two where hopefully there’s some form of regulation that we don’t look into this world and turn around where it’s just whoever wants to pay the most get its, and it’s now legal. Crazy times, man.”

At the Pac-12 meeting Tuesday, several coaches told The Athletic that they were pleased to hear how Colorado AD Rick George addressed the biggest issue head on and told the league’s coaches and his fellow athletic directors his suggestion to the NCAA: that the conference would search coaches’ phone records to investigate whether there were inducements to players being discussed with the threat of the schools and the coaches being fined and punished. If Pac-12 leadership finds out a coach has a burner phone, he’s already guilty.

Several coaches in the room have had frustrations with what they see as egregious violations they hear are taking place with the collectives that have been springing up. “You can’t provide inducements — that’s pay for play,” said one coach. “The (NCAA’s) booster rule is that once you’re defined as a booster, you’re a booster for the rest of your life, and if you are a booster, you’re not allowed to give inducements. That’s 100 percent illegal. That’s not a gray area. Boosters aren’t supposed to be having contact with players. That rule hasn’t changed. (George) also went off about how if you have a tiered (NIL) system, that’s pay for play, and I looked around the room and a few people were squirming.”

Continue reading story here

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May 5th 

SEC/Pac-12 Commissioners meeting with U.S. Senators – Looking for national NIL legislation

From ESPN … SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff will meet with United States senators in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to ask for legislative help surrounding name, image and likeness policies.

“I have been invited to meetings with several senators tomorrow to discuss the issues we’re seeing with name, image and likeness, and with the existential threat of our student-athletes being deemed to be employees,” Kliavkoff told ESPN on Wednesday.

NCAA president Mark Emmert and other leaders in college athletics have been asking for federal lawmakers to step in and regulate NIL policies. There are currently no federal regulations around NIL, and state laws vary considerably.

Kliavkoff contacted Democratic Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, whom he knows from their time working together at RealNetworks. He and Sankey will be meeting with Cantwell and Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, and are hoping to meet with other senators from both parties.

“The goal is to discuss a few of the issues facing college athletics with influential senators,” Kliavkoff said. “I think it’s more likely that we eventually get federal legislation on name, image and likeness, but we’re also interested in discussing all of the harm that will come to student-athletes if they are deemed to be employees.”

The meetings come on the heels of Pac-12 spring meetings during which athletic directors and coaches sought solutions to better control the NIL landscape.

Kliavkoff told ESPN it’s imperative to enforce rules prohibiting the use of NIL as a recruiting inducement or pay-for-play.

“Either the NCAA is going to get its act together in enforcing this,” he said, “or I’m going to be pushing for a smaller group to figure out how to create and enforce the NIL rules that we all agree on related to inducement and pay-for-play. The amount of an NIL payment should be commensurate with the work done as a backstop to make sure we’re not using it related to inducement and pay-for-play.”

Continue reading story here

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April 30th

Arizona State boosters set to launch collective with seven-figure bankroll

… Meanwhile … In Boulder … 

From SunDevilSource.com … A group of affluent Arizona State boosters is set to launch a name, image and likeness (NIL) collective with an expected seven-figure bankroll to help the athletic department’s marquee sports remain competitive in the rapidly-changing world of college athletics.

The new entity, which will have at least six founding members and allow for up to 15 board seats, is anticipated to apply to the IRS for non-profit 501(3)(c) status in May. The board’s current composition includes expertise in marketing, sports law, financial and tax advisory and non-profit operations. It has already received commitments totaling several hundred thousand dollars, with a goal of at least a million dollars pledged by launch and multiple millions of dollars derived from benefactors on an annual basis, two people working on the endeavor told Sun Devil Source.

The money will primarily be earmarked for the most prominent ASU football and men’s basketball players as part of marketing deals designed to help the programs keep their best players in Tempe. Unsigned recruits could also be targeted depending on the amount of purchasing power the group has, among other variables.

Continue reading story here

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April 18th 

John Canzano: NIL Going rate for a Pac-12 quarterback? $90,000

From BaldFacedTruth.com … When five-star offensive lineman Josh Conerly Jr. picked Oregon over USC, Michigan, Miami and Washington it caused a stir in the Pac-12 Conference booster world. The Division Street Collective — established to help UO athletes maximize their endorsement power — became an important player in the recruiting equation.

Six figures for Conerly Jr.?

Seven?

And what else is happening on the endorsement front in the Pac-12?

I reached out to a member of Washington State’s “Cougar Collective” on Thursday who confirmed that the entity put together a lucrative package for transfer quarterback Cameron Ward.

Ward jumped in the portal in January and transferred from University of the Incarnate Word to WSU. He figures to be an integral part of the Air Raid 2.0 offense that new offensive coordinator Eric Morris is implementing in spring football.

Ward’s total haul: $90,000.

His deal includes a contract with a housing firm for the school year that provides an apartment in Pullman. Also, Ward gets the use of a new pick-up truck for the year from a booster-owned car dealership. Also, he collects $50,000 in cash in exchange for promotional appearances he’ll make in the next year.

Said one member of the WSU collective: “For smaller schools to compete, it’s going to be very important. Our donor base is strong but nowhere near some of the big hitters.”

The “Cougar Collective” doesn’t have a required minimum contribution from donors. It also doesn’t collect fees or turn a profit. It’s solely there for the benefit of athletes. The group formed and put out the call for “like-minded business owners” and then placed an emphasis on the connections that the current and future athletes could form with business owners and leaders.

Said the donor: “We would love to be able to show any athlete, no matter what sport, that we can offer them some financial support to make college life a little easier.”

Ward won’t have to worry about transportation and housing and has $50,000 in walking-around money. Also, it’s above board. The early foray into this new world was all over the place but we’re starting to get a feel for the market rate for players.

Continue reading story here

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April 11th

How do we properly evaluate a head coach as a recruiter if third-party entities are dropping legal bags?

By Ari Wasserman at The Athletic … If the NIL collectives continue to grow and have an impact on recruiting, will that lower your percentage on the pie chart about recruiting for a head coach? Obviously being a good recruiter will still be extremely important, but just curious if maybe now a school can get away with hiring a “good” recruiter instead of a “great” recruiter if they have a strong collective? — Jordon S.

This is something I’ve already been struggling with, even before collectives took center stage. Whenever a program gets a top-end commitment, the comments from opposing fans have always been, “Well, they are cheating.” Now it’s not cheating and the comments will be, “They just paid the most.” If that turns out to be the No. 1 indicator of which schools are getting the top players in recruiting, then that strips away the fun of following it. I love writing about recruiting because of the strategy, competition and the lengths people will go (presumably within the rules) in order to get a prospect.

But if the recruiting winner is always just the highest bidder, then that takes away a lot of the analysis of the sport. Frankly, that sucks.

How do we properly evaluate a head coach as a recruiter if third-party entities are dropping legal bags?

As things currently exist, we track the comings and goings of prospects and try to bring context to how well a coach does his job in that regard. And anyone who has read a word that I’ve written knows that I believe the vast majority of a head coach’s job is being a proficient recruiter. If we break that up into a pie chart, 80 percent of a coach’s responsibility is recruiting, with the remaining 20 percent being X’s and O’s, development, program infrastructure, etc.

The answer to your question is yes. The recruiting portion of the pie chart will decrease because acquiring top talent will be less about the coach (and his ability to lure top players) and more about the people handling the money. If third-party collectives are going to turn recruiting into a bidding war — let’s say for the top 100 players — then you absolutely could get away with having a Dan Mullen-type as your head coach. Mullen didn’t fail at Florida because he was a bad coach. He failed because he couldn’t get players who were able to compete week-in and week-out with the Alabamas of the world. Imagine Mullen with Alabama’s roster. I think it’s a safe bet that his team would be pretty good.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition to be in if you’re me. On one hand, I love that high school athletes are earning money. I believe that if you’re a five-star prospect, you have already reached the apex of your sport and should be compensated for your talent. On the other hand, I don’t love that schools will be paying for recruits — even though that is still technically against the rules. We all know that’s what is going to happen/is already happening, even if there is no way to prove the real motivation a prospect has when committing.

To me, these coaches make too much money to get off the hook in recruiting. The talent accumulation phase is the heavy lifting of the job, and if there is going to be a pseudo-front office handling the recruiting phase, then how do we properly evaluate state employees (in most cases) who could be making upward of $12 million a year? I guess we’ll just have to go back to wins and losses, right?

Continue reading story here

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March 28th

Brave new world of college football: Florida State DB enters Transfer Portal after not getting paid in NIL dispute

From outkick.com … After reportedly expressing displeasure that his NIL deal had been temporarily suspended, Florida State starting defensive back Jarvis Brownlee entered the transfer portal. We’ve officially reached peak college football free agency.

Brownlee, a redshirt junior, ultimately decided to pack his bags after he sat out the start of spring ball because he had allegedly not been compensated for an NIL deal, even though he did not actually meet the necessary requirements for the deal.

In other words – show me the money, no matter what!

Earlier this month Ingram Smith of The Nolecast, alluded to an NIL issue as the reason Brownlee was opting out of spring ball: “The Jarvis Brownlee situation is an interesting one & I am sure there are 2 sides to every story. As I understand it, the frustration is not about the lack of an NIL deal. IMO, there was one present.”

Smith continued: “From what I have heard Brownlee did not meet the (minimum) requirement of the agreement and as such compensation has either been delayed or will not be occurring.”

If true, such terms were apparently unacceptable for Brownlee.

On Thursday morning Brownlee announced his intentions via Twitter: “I decided to enter the transfer portal. I feel that this is what is best for me and the goals and aspirations that I would like to accomplish. Lastly, I want to thank my family for supporting me throughout this tough decision. I am looking forward to this new journey, but I will always appreciate my time here at Florida State University.”

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March 23rd

More to the Penn State collective (no reason CU fans can’t do the same)

From The Athletic … James Franklin pointed out in February that Penn State was falling behind on the newest frontier of college athletics. The head coach mentioned several times that Penn State needed to be “bold and aggressive” and to react quickly to rule changes — especially as it relates to name, image and likeness.

“I’d love to see us being on the front end and being the leader nationally in these areas, but we’re not there yet,” he said. “That’s clear and that’s obvious. We have some work to do.”

Franklin’s challenge resonated beyond the walls of the football building to a group of Penn State alumni and power brokers who thought about how they could help athletes in all of the university’s 31 varsity sports. Ira Lubert, investor and Penn State alum, had the wheels in motion and capital for such an endeavor. Trustees Jay Paterno and Anthony Lubrano were working on a project they hoped would help streamline NIL opportunities for Penn State athletes.

“We said let’s do it together,” Paterno said. “We all wanted the same thing for Penn State.”

Lubert’s team joined forces with Paterno’s this winter. Now, they’re among a group of alumni launching the Penn State-focused Success With Honor collective, which was made public Wednesday. With monthly subscriptions ranging from $10 to $500, members of the collective can gain access to autographed items, exclusive apparel, athlete meet and greets, raffles and events. At higher price points, there will be athlete NFTs and the chance to pay for one-on-one training sessions with Penn State athletes.

“As the largest living alumni (association), we have no excuse not to have one of the best NILs in the country,” said Ben Bouma, a sports TV producer and statistician who played hockey at Penn State.

Continue reading story here

Penn State latest to have a fan base launching an NIL “collective”

… Named “Success with Honor” (insert your own joke here) … 

From CBS Sports … Penn State announced the launch of its name, image and likeness collective on Wednesday. “Success With Honor”, named after the phrase made famous by former football coach Joe Paterno, was established by five Penn State alumni from the business world.

The advisory board includes former football greats Lavar Arrington, Todd Blackledge and Michael Robinson. The platform is dedicated to all 850 Nittany Lions athletes and will have an office in State College, Pennsylvania.

“Ninety-five percent of the market is a thinly-veiled pay for play,” said Jason Belzer, CEO of Student Athlete NIL, the company managing Penn State’s collective. “That’s not what this is. We are creating off-the-field access for athletes. Very robust internships. The collective will pay athletes to work at those internships.”

Other opportunities include influencer marketing, brand partnerships, camps, clinics and education in financial literacy. According to the collective’s press release, “the vast majority of Penn State student-athletes receive partial or no scholarship money while competing for the Nittany Lions. Recognizing that reality the goal of Success with Honor is to create opportunities for student-athletes in all 31 sports.”

“If you are a pizza shop and you want to sign five student-athletes who want to do an appearance … come to us online or the brick and mortar office. We have the deliverables,” Belzer said.

Since the beginning the NIL era on July 1, 2021, collectives have emerged as a third-party organizations formed to develop NIL opportunities for athletes at specific schools. There are 36 “university-specific” collectives nationwide spread between 29 schools, Business of College Sports reported last week.

Penn State’s collective is one of eight run by Student Athlete NIL.

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March 21st

“Comical” to think schools aren’t informed of NIL collectives inducement payments

From CBS Sports … It has been less than two weeks since The Athletic reported that a five-star high school football player has signed a name, image and likeness contract with a collective that could pay him $8 million by the end of his junior year. That’s a clear indication the limits for NIL deals — $8 million for a high school athlete! — are still tough to define.

“If there is ever a time for the NCAA to go after a recruiting inducement, this would be the one,” said Mit Winter, a high-profile collegiate sports attorney based in Kansas City, Missouri.

The I-word, inducement, has been the biggest concern of college coaches and administrators everywhere since the NIL era started last July 1. Since then, what is and isn’t an inducement — defined as a cash offer to play at a school — has been the main talking point in the NIL space.

Inducements are hard to delineate. What used to be under-the-table illicit payments are now, well, above the table and almost completely allowed. Stymied by the courts and its own inaction, the NCAA last summer issued an interim one-page NIL policy that was the equivalent of a toothpick house in the face of a hurricane.

Enter the Wild, Wild West of that NIL era, which turns nine months old on April 1.

“[NIL deals are] really blowing up the interim policy, brick-by-brick,” said Tom McMillen, CEO of Lead1 Association, the professional organization of FBS athletic directors.

He called the interim policy a “dead letter law”, a rule that doesn’t exist unless it is applied.

“If you try to enforce a law that hasn’t been enforced and is routinely violated … it becomes harder and harder to put the genie back in the bottle,” McMillen added.

What skeptics are finding hard to believe is that the $8 million contract, the collective and the school where the five-star prospect eventually lands are three distinct entities.

“Do you really believe that XYZ collective — at a particular institution that is choosing to pay dollars to a particular student-athlete — they’re not doing that in an informed way [for] somebody the coaches told them they wanted to recruit?” a former Power Five AD told CBS Sports. “It’s almost comical to think that wouldn’t be a reality.”

Continue reading story here

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March 19th

Urban Meyer joins Ohio State organization looking “to become the largest NIL fund in the country”

From The Columbus DispatchFormer Ohio State coach Urban Meyer is joining the board of a nonprofit that will pay Buckeyes football and basketball players to work with charities.

Meyer will serve on the board of THE Foundation, an organization co-founded by Brian Schottenstein, a Columbus real estate developer and Ohio State booster, and Cardale Jones, the former national championship-winning quarterback for the Buckeyes. It launches at the end of this month.

“There isn’t a better person to have on the board than Coach Urban Meyer,” Schottenstein said. “It goes without saying that he’s one of the greatest recruiters of student-athletes and coaches of all time. I appreciate his support and friendship.”

Under NCAA rules passed last summer, college athletes are permitted to profit off the use of their name, image and likeness.

The opportunities for compensation from third parties have in recent months led to boosters at a series of schools setting up groups that pool money and resources from fervent fans to fund NIL deals for players. Experts see these efforts as part of a burgeoning arms race across the college sports landscape.

Schottenstein aims for THE Foundation, which will also rely on donations from Ohio State fans, to become the largest NIL fund in the country.

THE Foundation’s board is to include more than a dozen members and will help select which players and charitable organizations to partner with.

“Hopefully it will help current and future athletes,” Schottenstein said.

In an announcement of Meyer’s addition to the board on Wednesday, the group touted Meyer’s success in college, which included winning a pair of BCS national championships at Florida before leading the Buckeyes to the first College Football Playoff national championship in 2014.

Continue reading story here

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March 14th

Report: 2023 USC quarterback recruit to receive $8 million in NIL money ($350,000 up front)

Note … The article does not mention names, but other reporters have put together other pieces of the puzzle. Chris Hummer of 247 Sports tweeted: Only a handful of states allow HS players to profit off their NIL & stay eligible. If this player plays HS in 2022, pretty good chance he’s from Cali. And given only one position would command that type of money … well, I’ll just leave the rankings here” (which provides a link to the five-star quarterback recruits for the 2023 Class, including USC commit Malachi Nelson) … 

From Stewart Mandel at The Athletic … On Friday, a five-star recruit in the Class of 2023 signed an agreement with a school’s NIL collective that could pay him more than $8 million by the end of his junior year of college, The Athletic has learned. He’ll be paid $350,000 almost immediately, followed by monthly payouts escalating to more than $2 million per year once he begins his college career, in exchange for making public appearances and taking part in social media promotions and other NIL activities “on behalf of (the collective) or a third party.”

While there’s no centralized database to reference other contracts, two NIL experts believe it’s the largest individual NIL deal signed by a non-professional athlete.

Blake Lawrence, the founder of the NIL marketing platform Opendorse, said a deal that high seems like an outlier but added, “Whatever casual sports fans or coaches think student-athletes are earning from collectives, they’re (undershooting) by 10X. While $2 million (a year) is wild, $200,000 isn’t, but most people are thinking they’re getting $20,000.”

Lawyer Mike Caspino, who drafted the contract, allowed The Athletic to review and verify the contract in exchange for keeping the player and collectives’ identities anonymous. It provides a window into how donor-driven third parties tied to specific schools operate.

As per NCAA rules, the contract explicitly states, “nothing in this Agreement constitutes any form of inducement for (the athlete) to enroll at any school and/or join any athletic team.” There is no mention of any specific university, only that he be “enrolled at an NCAA member institution and a member of the football team at such institution,” ostensibly to avoid violating the NCAA’s pay-for-play rule. The only specific circumstances by which the collective could terminate the contract early is if the player violates a confidentiality clause or a clause about conducting himself with “the utmost character and integrity.”

“There’s an element of trust there,” Caspino said in regards to a collective offering that much money with no written assurance the athlete will sign with the donors’ school come December.

But in exchange for receiving his lucrative advances, the player hands over to the collective exclusive rights to use of his NIL, which would then negotiate outside opportunities on his behalf. In theory, that could dissuade him from entering the transfer portal, as he would not be able to make paid appearances promoting his next school.

Continue reading story here

The NCAA “is very, very, very careful about implementing any further NIL rules” (translation: So there are none)

From The Athletic … The gray area wasn’t supposed to be this gray.

When the NCAA announced its interim name, image and likeness (NIL) policy on June 30, 2021, the day before various state NIL laws were set to take effect, it stated specifically that “the policy in all three divisions preserves the commitment to avoid pay-for-play and improper inducements tied to choosing to attend a particular school.”

What that meant in practice was uncertain. Compliance officers nationwide weren’t exactly sure what was allowable and what wasn’t. Guardrails, as NCAA president Mark Emmert long promised and earlier proposed NCAA legislation had included, weren’t there.

Then, a Miami booster who owns a chain of gyms offered every scholarship Hurricanes football player $500 a month for promoting the gym. A Utah-based protein bar company offered money to every scholarship BYU football player and paid the  tuition for every walk-on. A group of Oregon boosters and alumni, including Nike co-founder Phil Knight, formed to provide branding and marketing assistance to athletes. And in early January when quarterback Caleb Williams announced his intent to transfer from Oklahoma, former Eastern Michigan and NFL quarterback Charlie Batch tweeted that his company would pay Williams $1 million to play one season at his alma mater.

Were these offers within the rules? It is not black and white. And if such a gray area exists, could athletes live in it while maintaining eligibility? No one really knew the answers until schools tested the boundaries.

“It certainly appears that (NIL deals) may have influenced some student-athletes to attend certain institutions,” said MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, a member of the Division I Council. “But I don’t know that for a fact.”

The question now is whether anyone can get the toothpaste back in the tube — without attracting more lawsuits. That may or may not be possible, administrators say.

The NCAA has reportedly asked Miami, BYU and Oregon for additional information related to these team-wide NIL offers. As long as there is quid pro quo, any service rendered ranging from promotional event appearances to social media posts in return for payment, it’d be hard to characterize a deal as in violation of the NCAA rules prohibiting pay-for-play.

No one has been penalized, and in an era of increased rights for athletes, very few prominent voices have called for it. And in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling against the NCAA in the Alston case last June, the NCAA has been hesitant to add restrictions in this area because of potential legal exposure.

“It’s made the NCAA very, very, very careful about implementing any further rules that restrict athlete compensation, whether that is from schools or from outside parties, like collectives,” said Mit Winter, an attorney for Kennyhertz Perry and former Division I college basketball player. “They are going to be very gun-shy about putting any more restrictions in place around NIL. … They had more detailed NIL rules drafted. They’ve been talking about them for a long time. Then, Alston comes out, and they just really abandon those and put in place what they have now, which are very bare-bones.

“It’s possible that, after some more consideration and thinking and more legal analysis, the NCAA could try to put some more restrictions in place. But I think they’re going to exhaust every other option before they do that, including holding out hope for a federal law that would include some sort of limited antitrust immunity.”

Continue reading story here

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March 12th

Miami businessman spending millions in NIL money to make Hurricanes relevant again

Records provided by LifeWallet show 55 athletes currently signed to NIL deals, but Ruiz said the number is closer to 80

From The Athletic … Tyler Van Dyke is standing in the pocket — only this time he’s not on the field holding a football.

The ACC’s Rookie of the Year is on the 10th floor of a pristine office building with a silver suitcase in his right hand.

Five University of Miami offensive linemen outfitted in black shirts, black pants and black aviator sunglasses are surrounding the Canes’ star quarterback as they walk down a hallway with a camera crew in front of them.

“We all have makeup on. It’s not my favorite thing to wear, I guess,” Van Dyke tells The Athletic with a grin.

He and his teammates spend four hours on a Friday afternoon — three days before the start of spring practice — taking direction from former Hurricanes shortstop Johnny Ruiz to film a 60- to 90-second commercial for LifeWallet, a company owned by locally based lawyer-turned-billionaire John H. Ruiz.

“I think we’re doing the Ole Miss video from five years ago,” Van Dyke continued. “The linemen follow the quarterback around to make sure he’s safe or whatever. It’ll be cool to replicate that video.”

All six college athletes in the commercial are getting paid good money to work for Ruiz, a Miami-born son of Cuban immigrants who attended classes at UM with Melvin Bratton, Alonzo Highsmith, Vinny Testaverde and other Canes greats in the mid-1980s.

Since December, Ruiz said he’s signed dozens of college athletes in different sports (swimming, baseball and golf) from Miami and FIU to name, image and likeness deals totaling more than $2 million.

Ruiz’s ex-wife is related to Mario Cristobal, but he keeps his distance from Miami’s coach and school administrators so as not to break any NCAA rules. Florida’s NIL laws – more stringent than other states – prohibit school employees at Miami from arranging NIL deals for athletes.

Ruiz, who filed a class-action lawsuit in January against the Florida High School Athletic Association to allow high school athletes to sign NIL deals, wants to help his alma mater get back to winning championships. He has plans to build the Hurricanes a 65,000-seat stadium at Tropical Park if voters and county commissioners allow him. But right now, with regard to NIL deals, he’s at the forefront of getting Miami’s football players paid.

Ruiz said he isn’t cutting corners, either. He makes the athletes he signs to NIL deals work for their pay — mostly by being actors in videos and using their social media accounts to promote his businesses. Not everyone makes the same amount. Ruiz staggers the contracts based on each player’s endorsement value.

The NCAA, which adopted bare-bone NIL laws on June 30, 2021, has yet to come down on any program for its NIL dealings but did ask Miami, BYU and Oregon for additional information related to previous team-wide NIL offers.

“My background is being an attorney and introducing evidence in court,” Ruiz said. “So I’m already thinking of what the evidence is that we’re putting together in case somebody asks a question as it relates to the rules. I’m not criticizing any other program, but I’ve not seen any other program in the country that can (compare to) how we do it. We provide everything that’s going on behind the scenes. I invite anybody and everybody that wants to come see what we do because I think they leave here learning, ‘Hey, this is the real deal. This is not something that they’re not putting resources into.’ We as a company are putting a ton of resources in it.

“In addition to the actual money being paid to the players, we’re spending millions behind the scenes to make it work with the commercials, the dissemination and the staff. I mean, we have probably about 25 to 30 people working in production, just for the NIL aspect of it. So there’s a lot that goes into it.”

Continue reading story here

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March 1st

USC Quarterback Caleb Williams sharing his NIL wealth – gives headphones to women’s basketball team

From on3.com … Caleb Williams was in the giving spirit this week. He used one of his NIL deal to surprise some of his fellow student-athletes.

The new USC quarterback recently signed a deal with Beats by Dre and personally surprised everyone on the Trojans women’s basketball team with new headphones after a practice, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Ryan Kartje. They were good luck gifts as they get ready for the Pac-12 tournament.

Kartje also reported Williams plans to “share the wealth” with his NIL deals. So this might not be a one-time thing.

Williams committed to Lincoln Riley and USC last month after the two spent 2021 together at Oklahoma. Last year with the Sooners, he threw for 1,912 yards and 21 touchdowns in the air. He also rushed for 442 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

Williams has signed multiple NIL deals since arriving at USC, including his most recent partnership with Hawkins Way Capital, a Beverly Hills-based real estate private equity fund. The partners of the fund intend to introduce Williams to the real estate world with the possibility of partnering on future investment opportunities, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to get some experiential learning in a valuable component of business,” Williams said in a statement.

This isn’t Williams first go-around with a major NIL deal. He currently holds partnerships with with Beats by Dre, a licensing agreement with Fanatics, he helped launch an Alkaline water brand, and even became a part-owner of a modern men’s grooming company.

The terms of that investment were not disclosed, according to the report. What was revealed, however, is that Williams will receive annual compensation for the partnership.

Continue reading story here

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February 25th

ASU’s AD on NIL: “We are not going to be able to get in an arms race” considered a huge mistake

From The Athletic … College football’s middle class has a decision to make. But if a program elects to lean toward the direction fans (and more importantly, future players) don’t want to hear, it’s probably best not to broadcast it.

On Wednesday, Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson participated in a radio interview that served as his first public comments regarding the Sun Devils’ recruiting scandal that resulted in five changes to Herm Edwards’ coaching staff.

“We’re not going to be able to get in an arms race with the new free agency and the new pay-for-play (NIL) structure that is now very prevalent,” Anderson said. “We’re going to have to differentiate ourselves by training and developing at a superior level for those who aspire to go to the professional ranks. We’re going to have to adjust our model because the college model has changed.”

The natural follow-up question, of course, is why can’t Arizona State get into a race? Why can’t Arizona State compete in the “new free agency” in college football? Whether both things are true, Anderson’s peculiar tone of resignation may make both a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The simplest answer is ASU lacks the funds, but it seems very early in the new era of college sports to decide whether that is the case. And the Sun Devils aren’t exactly in the poor house, even if they’re not keeping up with the Joneses in SEC country. Competing in the new world of college football doesn’t necessarily have to mean growing a budget. It may just mean finding a creative way to efficiently reallocate existing funds.

Star quarterback Jayden Daniels, the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2019, entered the transfer portal this month. But there’s no reason, in more normal times when an NCAA investigation isn’t looming over campus, Arizona State can’t be an attractive destination for players in the portal or for high school prospects considering their futures.

Any message about the new world of college football that isn’t, “We want everyone who comes here to maximize their value and have the best experience possible” probably doesn’t help a program.

Imagine a coach or athletic director saying a program wasn’t going to be able to compete for a conference title. Whether it’s true on any campus, saying it out loud isn’t helping. Saying the same about the transfer portal or NIL is no different.

And it threatens to make a real problem worse.

The Pac-12 already has an apathy problem. In 2019, the last normal season before the pandemic, Washington and USC were the only Pac-12 teams in the FBS top 30 in home attendance. The conference ranked last among the Power 5 in attendance, too. In 2021, UCLA and Oregon were the only Pac-12 teams in the top 30 in average weekly television viewership.

Anderson is right that the college football model has changed dramatically in the last year, but upheaval also can be an opportunity for upward mobility. Fearlessness, ingenuity and enterprising thought traditionally fuel those who take advantage of unrest in any environment.

But ASU president Michael Crow’s comments on the same issue sound like just the opposite.

“I’m not a big fan of those things. I’m kind of an old school, college students playing sports, going to college, getting scholarships, becoming college graduates,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of progress at ASU at overcoming some of our longer-term history where we didn’t have people graduating, we didn’t have people successful academically. We fixed all that. And now we get to this mode where there’s so much focus on the resources and so much focus on this and that. I do support better scholarships for athletes, what we call full-cost of attendance scholarships for athletes. We’ve been under-investing in those.

“But I’m not a big fan of all this other stuff. And I’m not a big fan of a lot of the changes that are being made. but there’s a huge wave moving in this direction, so whatever happens, we’re just going to try to make it work where we’re going to focus on the success of the student-athlete and really care about those individuals and focusing our energy on them.”

The new world of college sports won’t care if administrators are fans of the changes that already have arrived and are already making an acute impact on a program’s circumstances. Everyone in charge of college athletics should get “adapt or die” tattooed on their forehead so they can see it every time they look in the mirror.

Continue reading story here

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February 23rd

Mack Brown: “There’s so much cheating with NIL. It’s really sad”

From on3.com … UNC head coach Mack Brown strongly believes that the NIL space needs change.

Brown, 70, is currently in his second stint as UNC’s head football coach, a position he re-accepted in 2019, and he believes that student-athletes’ newfound ability to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL) is beginning to change the recruiting landscape — despite UNC having an NIL collective to its own benefit.

An NIL “collective,” as On3’s Eric Prisbell writes, is “independent of a university” but “can serve a variety of purposes. Most often, they pool funds from boosters and businesses, help facilitate NIL deals for athletes and also create their own ways for athletes to monetize their brands.” UNC is one of many schools that has its own NIL collective called “Heels4Life,” started by former Tar Heels linebacker Shakeel Rashad. In theory, this should help Brown’s recruiting efforts at UNC; at least on paper, that seems to be the case. The Tar Heels, who boast the 10th-best recruiting class in the nation, highlighted by five-star offensive tackle Zach Rice, showing that Brown has had no trouble recruiting to UNC in the first year of legal NIL activities.

Still, Brown couldn’t help but call out those that appear to be using NIL to cheat their way to a top recruiting class.

“Somebody — a national committee — said it the other day. There’s so much cheating with NIL. It’s really sad. And it’s got to be cleaned up. Tampering is bad, but the cheating is bad,” Brown said in his pre-spring practice press conference. “The way I’ve been told is that coaches cannot get involved with the opportunities for the kids. That has to be an outside source. And we’ve got Heels4Life that does that for us. But what I’ve been told is that the only thing we can tell a player or a parent is that we can explain to them what opportunities the players on our team are currently getting, and how that works. That’s it. We can’t promise anybody any money for play. Just about every transfer I’ve talked to was being offered money (from other schools), so it was a little ridiculous. But I think that’s where we’ve got to find an answer here to put some guidelines on this, or we’ll never see college sports again the way we’ve seen it.”

Evidently, it’s concerning the NCAA, too, which Brown referenced in the beginning of his answer. Though the governing body had previously kept itself removed from any NIL activity, the NCAA announced on Friday that the DI Council would conduct a review on the impact of NIL on student-athletes. The NCAA, like Brown, said in its press release that it is “concerned that some activity in the name, image and likeness space may not only be violating NCAA recruiting rules, particularly those prohibiting booster involvement, but also may be impacting the student-athlete experience negatively in some ways.”

Continue reading story here

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February 20th

Eye roll – NCAA to review NIL policies (or lack thereof) to see “whether anything can be done to mitigate negative aspects”

From ESPN … After one season of college athletes being allowed to profit off their name, image and likeness, the NCAA announced Friday afternoon that it will begin a review of NIL policies.

The Division I Board of Directors met virtually Friday and agreed to task the Division I Council with a review of how NIL policies, or lack thereof, have affected athletes’ school choice, transfer opportunities, academics and their mental health.

“We want to preserve the positive aspects of the new policy while reviewing whether anything can be done to mitigate the negative ones,” said board chair and University of Georgia president Jere Morehead.

In a news release, the board cited concerns about potential violation of NCAA recruiting rules, the representation for athletes as they broker these deals, booster involvement, as well schools being involved in potentially arranging deals for incoming players.

“We look forward to conducting this review and hope to be able to provide the membership with additional clarity,” said West Virginia athletic director and council chair Shane Lyons. “Any recommendations we provide will help members as they support their student-athletes moving forward.”

According to the board, the NCAA’s national office enforcement staff have continued to investigate violations of NCAA rules, including pay-for-play and recruiting inducements.

In June of last year, the Supreme Court ruled in NCAA v. Alston et al. that the NCAA was violating antitrust laws by restricting athlete compensation. That ruling prompted the NCAA to vote to allow and institute NIL policies.

The decision brought about a slew of sponsorship deals and opportunities for athletes beyond football and basketball, but the lack of structure within those two sports, especially football, has resulted in different avenues for compensating players such as financial collectives by school alumni. The lack of oversight from the NCAA also meant that different states had different rules for NIL legislation.

“We expect that all members and their representatives are abiding by current NCAA rules regarding recruiting and pay-for-play, which are in place to support student-athletes,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said. “We encourage school compliance staff to continue their diligence, and NCAA enforcement has and will continue to undertake investigations and actions against potential rules violations.”

The NCAA board asked for a preliminary report from the council by April, with a final report with recommendations for possible action due in June.

 

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February 15th

NIL Wars: “We’re prepared to invest a substantial amount – well into the seven-figure category”

From The Athletic … In just more than seven months since being introduced to college sports, name, image and likeness has morphed into a recruiting superweapon.

And in the never-ending arms race of college football, those who outfit themselves best are bound to prosper.

“If you would have asked us four to five months ago, we might have said we want to try and raise $3 (million), $4 (million), $5 million annually. Now, the goal is $25 million annually. Or more. And we think that goal is absolutely attainable,” said Hunter Baddour, president and co-founder of Spyre Sports, a Tennessee-centric college sports collective. “We’ll have to work hard, which we will. If this is how the game is played, then game on.”

Late in the 2022 recruiting season, it became clear that this was precisely how the game was being played, and as coaches turn the page to the Class of 2023, the money and impact collectives such as Spyre Sports can have are only growing.

“We’re prepared to invest a substantial amount of resources into the 2023 recruiting class,” Baddour said. “When you add all that together, it’s well into the seven-figure category.”

Baddour and CEO James Clawson co-founded Spyre Sports in 2020 and quickly found fertile ground in name, image and likeness. It has become one of the sport’s most organized and advanced collectives, a new catch-all term in college sports for groups of fans with varying budgets set aside to help aid players in monetizing their name, image and likeness. Money is pooled from a variety of sources and distributed to players according to their value, while players are responsible for providing deliverables such as event appearances, social media posts or autographs.

The money is staggering, and so is the influence, especially for those with the means to show recruits their market value can outpace what it might be on a campus elsewhere.

“Neyland Stadium being packed, passion of the fans, being in the SEC, all those things are still major factors,” Baddour said, “but what NIL opportunities a player will have is right up there at the top now.”

On July 1, 2021, the NCAA removed the restrictor plates on athletes’ rights to monetize their name, image and likeness. The initial flood of deals was small, sometimes just for free gear or products from local businesses.

While it’s impossible to quantify the precise impact of money from an NIL package in a recruit’s mind, Tennessee signed seven of the nine Class of 2022 prospects Spyre Sports had significant conversations with during the recruiting process, according to Spyre.

“We realized being involved in recruiting was going to be a priority. Then we realized how much money we were going to need to be elite,” Baddour said. “And we’re shooting to be No. 1.”

But so is everyone else, and in college football especially, a brand new game is afoot, as that influence — and the money that provides it — only figures to increase in the Class of 2023.

Continue reading story here

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February 12th

**Video: Rick George talks CU NIL: “We’re going to do it right”**

Meanwhile, other schools have embraced collectives: “Everyone is finally going all-in”

From On3.com … As donor-led collectives — and their perceived importance in winning ultra-competitive recruiting battles — continue to dominate the NIL conversation, boosters, athletic directors and coaches who had taken a wait-and-see approach now are suddenly adopting a new mindset as they witness success at rival schools.

One prominent industry source told On3, “Let me put it this way: Everyone is finally going all-in. All the ADs, all the coaches are going, ‘Holy crap, this is it. This is the game-changer. This is bigger than I had thought.’ ”

Collectives now are launching by the week. These are companies, independent of the university, that most often pool funds from supporters and/or help facilitate NIL deals in the community with athletes. On3’s up-to-the-minute snapshot of collectives nationwide and background on each can be found here.

The “Fear the Wave” crowd-sourcing collective at Tulane launched this week. And two collectives launched to assist the University of Arizona athletes: “Friends of Wilbur & Wilma” will initially help football players with NIL deals, and “Arizona Assist” will benefit men’s basketball players.

There also are so-called “silent” collectives that have been in operation for some time but have chosen to keep a low profile, avoiding the limelight others have sought. One example is Nebraska-centric Athlete Branding & Marketing, which has existed under the radar since the summer. It has been spearheaded by Jon Bruning, the former Nebraska attorney general and a longtime friend of football coach Scott Frost, and Gerrod Lambrecht, Frost’s former chief of staff.

Some Pac-12 schools … 

Arizona (Friends of Wilbur & Wilma)

Founders: Cole Davis and Humberto S. Lopez, longtime Arizona supporters
The buzz: The collective initially will assist football players. The collective will be powered by Blueprint Sports, which is led by co-founder and partner Francisco Aguilar, a former Arizona student body president. BPS’ key investor is the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education. The BPS platform will facilitate monthly community engagements for football players.

Arizona (Arizona Assist)

Founders: Michael Saffer, Thomas Conran and Adam Lazarus
The buzz: The focus is on assisting men’s basketball players. Supporters, alumni, and local businesses will receive benefits and exclusive opportunities to purchase products and engage with players through VIP events and experiences, various raffles and a variety of merchandise and memorabilia that isn’t available to the general public.

Oregon (Division Street)

Founder: Nike co-founder Phil Knight and several other former Nike executives
The buzz: Division Street includes a strong list of industry luminaries who will assist athletes in creating opportunities to monetize their brands. Among those involved include company CEO Rosemary St. Clair, former GM of Nike women; Rudy Chapa, former VP of sports marketing at Nike; Rich Paul, Klutch Sports Group founder; and Nike and Jordan executives Josh Moore, Nicole Graham and David Creech. And Oregon alumnus Sabrina Ionescu is chief athlete officer.

Washington (Montlake Futures)

Founders: Washington donors
The buzz: Montlake Futures will develop and facilitate NIL opportunities for athletes in cooperation with local businesses and sponsors. Local companies that have endorsed the collective include Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Costco, Nordstrom and Precept Wines. It includes an “Athletes Council” of prominent Huskies athletes. And former football coach Chris Petersen will serve as the company’s ambassador and “Lifetime Transformation Leader.”

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February 7th 

QB Brendon Lewis signs NIL deal with The Sink

From coloradobuffaloeswire.com … Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Brendon Lewis announced on Feb. 2 via social media that he is partnering with a well-known Boulder restaurant, The Sink.

The Sink is a favorite among Boulder locals and has a nearly century-long history featuring visits from notable figures and celebrities such as former U.S. President Barack Obama and the late Anthony Bourdain.

Lewis’ partnership was announced less than two weeks after the University of Colorado Athletics department announced the Buffs NIL Exchange, an online portal that helps CU student-athletes connect with local businesses in order to create partnerships.

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February 4th

Coming soon: Player-specific jerseys with proceeds to players

From CBS Sports … Several schools have announced plans to offer wide release of player-specific jerseys through a partnership between Fanatics and OneTeam Partners that was announced on Thursday. So far, LSU, Oklahoma, Washington and Penn State are among the programs that have publicly announced participation.

The enrollment means that every player who opts into the program will have their jersey available to purchase prior to the 2022 football season. All jersey sales will result in player compensation as a part of the newly-allowed name, image and likeness (NIL) legislation that has taken college athletics by storm since July 1.

“For the first time ever, fans will be able to purchase authentic jerseys of their favorite LSU Tigers, and student-athletes will directly benefit from every sale,” LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said. “We cannot wait to see our jerseys on the sidelines and in the stands inside Tiger Stadium next season, and we eagerly anticipate additional player co-branded products for our student-athletes across all sports.”

Player jerseys have long been a source of controversy in relation to athletic merchandising. For decades, official university jersey sales have not featured a name on the back — even as jerseys like LSU No. 9 (Joe Burrow) or Oklahoma No. 6 (Baker Mayfield) not-so-subtly ranked as top sellers. The partnership between merchandiser Fanatics and group licensing specialist OneTeam tries to connect those dots.

“Broad-scale group rights for college athletes is the only pathway to bring this program forward,” said Derek Eiler, executive vice president of Fanatics College. “Aligning with OneTeam was a critical step to develop a scalable and efficient college jersey program.”

A release notes that the co-branded jersey program was offered to “dozens” of schools on Thursday. LSU is the first to offer the jersey releases at a nearly unanimous level, but more schools could announce in the coming days.

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February 3rd

Column: Get comfortable with college players being paid

From Ralph Russo of the Associated Press … Jimbo Fisher should have leaned into it.

Instead of going off about rumors that a multimillion-dollar, booster-funded NIL program is behind Texas A&M’s monster recruiting class, the Aggies’ coach could have injected some sanity into the current panic sweeping college football.

Throughout the history of college sports paying players equaled cheating.

Not anymore.

College athletes can now be compensated for use of their names, images and likenesses. The NCAA surrendered in this fight last year, bringing down the barriers between two groups that always seem to connect through capitalism: People with talent and people with money.

Everyone involved needs to come to grips with this new reality for college football to transition into its next iteration.

Until then, we’ll get what we had this week in the Southeastern Conference, which was wildly entertaining, though not terribly productive.

Fisher went flame on at his signing day media availabilitytaking aim at those who have perpetuated unfounded rumors that he and his staff were recruiting with a $30 million NIL war chest behind them. He defended his program and took to task those perpetuating internet misinformation, without calling out Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin by name.

Totally understandable. No one wants to be called a cheater, even when it’s not clear that what you have been accused of is against the rules.

One particular part of Fisher’s diatribe stood out.

“To me, it’s insulting to the players that we recruited that that’s why they would come here,” he said. “You ever been to a game here? You ever come to school here and see the education? You ever talk about the 12th Man and the Aggie network when you’re done? There ain’t a better university in this country.”

This is the outdated culture of college sports. Even as schools race to publicly embrace NIL, it is still somehow “insulting” to accuse an elite football player of considering how much money he could make when he decides where to ply his trade.

Continue reading story here

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January 26th

“Collectives” funneling millions to collegiate athletes in the name of NIL

From CBS Sports … They’ve given themselves names that inspire the confidence large financial institutions use to pitch investors: trust … valiant … guardians. They are run by billionaires, entrepreneurs and accomplished financial advisors.

In the not-yet 7-month-old history college athletes being granted their full name, image and likeness rights, these groups have become the biggest influencers. Their cottage-industry businesses are called NIL “collectives” — stand-alone start-up companies established to create financial opportunities for athletes.

In some cases, collectives look a lot like major corporations with large staffs and budgets. Mostly unshackled by NCAA regulations, they have put their minds and resources together to funnel funds to athletes.

If that sounds crass, get over it. Collectives have become the opening number of a hit Broadway musical. The difference? The actors in this production are also fans.

“I’m about the confetti,” said Eddie Rojas, CEO of The Gator Collective and an unabashed Florida honk who went 10-1 as a pitcher for the Gators from 1999 to 2001. “I want to create an environment where Florida becomes NIL-U.”

Rojas, 44, is also CEO of his own company, 401K Generation. He has 16 years experience in portfolio management and pension consulting with his company currently managing $3.28 billion in assets. That confetti he’s talking about? He’s referring to the post-game stuff shot out of cannons celebrating national championships, a level of success he wants to help bring back to Florida.

To do his part in the NIL race, The Gator Collective has been established as a sort-of subscription service. Starting at $5.99 (up to $999.99) a month, Gators fans get exclusive autographs, interviews and even personal appearances.

“Players will visit [fans] on their birthday,” said Rojas proudly.

That’s only scratching the surface. The Clark Field Collective at Texas is paying Longhorns offensive linemen $50,000 each … basically just for being Texas offensive linemen. To date, it has not been ruled to be an NCAA violation, but such boundary-straddling conduct by collectives are the talk of college athletics at the moment.

“Collectives,” Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said, “that’s all I’ve heard for the last two weeks.”

The brazenness of some offers is increasing. Former Eastern Michigan quarterback Charlie Batch tweeted earlier this month that a $1 million NIL deal awaits Oklahoma transfer quarterback Caleb Williams.

Continue reading story here

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January 25th

CU hosting an event  for letter winners to try and spur NIL involvement

Email sent out to C-Club members …

Image

 

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January 24th 

… CU in a few minutes … 

**Video: Mark Johnson talks NIL with CU AD Rick George**

From BuffsTV … (Plus: Bill Walton learns lacrosse from the CU lacrosse team) …

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January 21st 

… CU in a few minutes … 

What it takes to become an NIL sponsor at CU

From the CU NIL pageNo “Pay for Play” in Boulder (just in Eugene, Miami, College Station, Lincoln, etc., etc. … )

Please verify the following attestation provided by the institution for third parties.

“Buffs NIL Exchange” has some catching up to do: 58 Oregon players have NIL deals

From The Oregonian … The NCAA is poking around the University of Oregon, asking questions about its relationship with the newly formed third-party entity called Division Street, Inc.

UO says it’s cooperating with the NCAA. The probe was first reported by Sportico over the weekend and it appears at this point that the governing body of college athletics is trying to grasp Oregon’s policies and procedures as it pertains to athletes monetizing their name, image and likeness.

The Division Street venture was organized last September by a group of prominent UO boosters who wildly excelled in their respective industries. Sneaker czar Phil Knight joined forces with Pat Kilkenny (insurance), Ed Maletis (beverages), Jim Morse (lumber) and the Papé Family (machinery) to form an entity that aims to assist Ducks athletes in this NIL world.

So how’s it going?

Internal university communications obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive give us a glimpse at the early returns on the business of NIL at both Oregon and Oregon State.

Oregon logged 273 deals for student-athletes after the floodgates were opened in July of 2021, clearing the way for athletes to sign endorsement deals. Of those, 156 were for female athletes and 215 were for non-football players.

Average deal: $1,087.

Biggest deal: $100,000 (Kayvon Thibodeaux, football).

Meanwhile, Oregon State logged 48 NIL deals for athletes in the same time frame. Of those, 18 were for female athletes and 35 were for non-football players.

Average deal: $5,340.

Biggest deal: $200,000 (Jade Carey, gymnastics).

It’s a small sample size — and it’s still way early — but the NIL trend between the two in-state universities is an interesting study. The Ducks are outscoring the Beavers on the total number of deals made (273-48), but I’m told a pile of those UO arrangements included a trade of free Nike apparel and merchandise and no cash exchanged, which drove down the value of the average deal.

Also, if you remove the six-figure deals for Thibodeaux and Carey you get a better idea of how the average athlete who received an NIL deal actually did. The average deal at Oregon without Thibodeaux’s biggest endorsement would be $723, while the average at OSU without Carey’s big contract included is $1,198.

Oregon has had 58 football players benefit from NIL deals so far. OSU has had 13. Keep an eye on that tally as this progresses because I suspect the NCAA’s NIL questions will focus on football and men’s basketball even as it appears female athletes appear to be participating proportionally in our state.

Continue reading story here

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January 20th

… CU in a few minutes … 

CU announces “Buffs NIL Exchange” 

Email from CU Athletic Director Rick George …

Thank you for your investment in the lives of our 350+ CU student-athletes. Your recent support has ranged from the Sustainable Excellence Initiative (SEI) Drive for $105M, which resulted in the building of the UCHealth Champions Center, our Crawford Family WHOLE Student-Athlete Program, scholarship endowments, planned gifts, and season ticket purchases. This proves if we stand shoulder to shoulder, we can accomplish anything.

College athletics is in a very delicate place right now. The landscape is changing at a rapid pace and the issues that are prevalent today weren’t even topics a few years ago. The intersection of the transfer portal with name, image and likeness has created an unstable dynamic. While I’m disappointed to see the number of football student-athletes we’ve seen enter the transfer portal in the past few weeks, we are not unique to many teams around the country. As it stands today, there are over 1,700 FBS student-athletes in the transfer portal (average of 13+ per institution). One can speculate as to why this is occurring, but rest assured, our #1 priority is the student-athletes at CU, and we will continue to stand committed to educating, investing in, and providing them a world-class experience.

I am, and will always be, proud of what we do for our student-athletes at the University of Colorado. What we provide in student-athlete support is unmatched around the country. We want student-athletes that want to be at the University of Colorado as this is an incredible institution. We have the best coaches and staff in place across all our sports in my tenure and I’m excited about what the future holds for CU Athletics.

Thanks to your generosity, investments into the AD Excellence Fund have allowed us to recently act upon the NCAA vs. Alston et al decision. This means we will now provide up to $2,000 to all academically eligible scholarship student-athletes each semester. In addition, we will provide up to $990 to all student-athletes who participate in five or more advanced educational courses per semester (i.e. career development, diversity, equity & inclusion, mental health, etc.). In total, we expect to provide $1.7 million in new educational support directly to our student-athletes annually.

Moreover, I am excited to announce our approach to further assisting CU student-athletes with their name, image and likeness (NIL). I am pleased to share details on our new program called the Buffs NIL Exchange. This exchange will serve as the official marketplace for all businesses, individuals, and collectives to engage with our student-athletes on their NIL opportunities.

Should you consider partnering with our student-athletes on their NIL, please register your information using the link below. The passion of our Buffs Family is unmatched, and I am excited to bring this opportunity for you to support our student-athletes in this new world of college athletics.

Go Buffs!
Rick George

NIL FAQ from CU NIL Exchange Page

WHAT IS THE BUFFS NIL EXCHANGE?

The Buffs NIL Exchange is a student-athlete NIL business registry that is designed for businesses, donors, alumni, and any other interested NIL dollars wishing to connect with CU student-athletes. Registered businesses can search, filter and initiate conversations with ~y~our student-athletes to discuss potential NIL activities. Once an NIL deal between a registrant and a student-athlete is complete, the Buffs NIL Exchange automatically produces a no-fee direct payment to the student-athlete as well as a transaction report to the INFLCR Verified Compliance Ledger, as required by Colorado state law. At the end of the year, all transactions within the Buffs NIL Exchange are consolidated into one 1099 Form for tax-reporting purposes for both registrants and student-athletes.

FAQS:

What is Name, Image & Likeness?

“Name, Image, and Likeness” or “NIL” is a common phrase used to refer to an individual’s rights of publicity – the ability to control and use one’s own unique identity for commercial promotion.

As of July 1, 2021, NCAA student-athletes are permitted to earn compensation from the use of their NIL by themselves or a noninstitutional third party without harming their intercollegiate eligibility or athletics scholarship.

What is an NIL deal?

A permissible NIL agreement is like a job: a quid pro quo agreement in which value is exchanged between the student-athlete and a noninstitutional third party. The student-athlete earns the compensation by performing a service or otherwise providing value to a third party (a business, a collective or a person). It is up to the third party to determine fair market value of the transaction.

This exchange of value may include, but is not limited to, transactional activities like endorsements and sponsorships, publicity activities such as appearances, autograph sessions or monetizing a YouTube channel as well as entrepreneurial ventures like selling merchandise, conducting sports camps, or operating their own product or service-based business.

Does Colorado have an NIL state law?

Yes. Instead of legislation, the NCAA issued an Interim Policy directing schools located in a state with an active NIL law to follow those regulations in place of NCAA rules when governing student-athletes’ rights of publicity. Schools without a state law were able to create institutional rules. CO Senate Bill 20-123 went into effect on July 1, 2021.

Who can register with the Buffs NIL Exchange?

The Exchange is open to all businesses, groups of people, and individuals seeking to enter an NIL agreement or participate in NIL activities with CU student-athletes so long as value is exchanged between both parties.

How is the University involved in NIL deals?

Neither the University of Colorado, the CU Athletics Department, sport programs nor individual CU coaches/staff members are parties to NIL contracts. The student-athlete engages in their NIL activities as an individual. University employees, including coaches and Athletics Department staff, may not compensate student-athletes for NIL activities.

A student-athlete granting a noninstitutional third party the right to use their NIL does not extend or include the ability to use the marks and logos of CU Boulder, the Pac-12 Conference, the NCAA or other protected marks incidental to their intercollegiate athletic participation (i.e., the Nike Swoosh on a CU jersey) unless the commercial entity is a licensee who secures approval through Co-Branding or Group Licensing processes. For licensing-related inquiries, please contact licensing@colorado.edu.

Does the school or INFLCR take any revenue from NIL transactions from the Buffs NIL Exchange?

No

Who approves the request to register & how will I know when this occurs?

CU Athletics approves each registration request. You will receive an initial email upon receipt of your registration. You will then receive an email confirming your approval and that is when you may begin contacting student-athletes through the Buffs NIL Exchange.

Can I register as an individual?

Yes! When you complete the Business Information, you will be required to fill out all of the sections except the EIN. You can include your LinkedIn or social media page for the website, and a headshot for the company logo.

Does the Buffs NIL Exchange make me an official licensee of the University?

Using the Buffs NIL Exchange does not make the company a licensee of CU Athletics, and any business must follow the appropriate procedures to become a licensee and follow all intellectually property rules.  Information on how to become a licensee with CU Athletics can be found here.

Additional Resources

NIL Program Link

State Law – Senate Bill 20-123

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28 Replies to “NIL News and Notes”

  1. Anyone else around here find the SEC bickering about pay for play hilarious?

    I do.

    I’d love to see some reporters “dig in” as Jimbo suggested (who we know spent six years working w/ Nick) and see what they can turn up.

    On the other hand, why bother? It’s nothing the world didn’t really know about, but instead, just pretended it wasn’t happening.

    Go Buffs

    1. I need a shower just reading this stuff. Sleaze oozes from these guys. At least there are controls for agents in the professional leagues. Seems like these NIL agents have no controls. Makes me ill.

        1. Thanks. That’s a good story. Honorable young man. Probably the exception that proves the rule.

          1. You bet. There’s more than you’d think, whether staying or transferring, who aren’t solely focused on NIL deals. In fact, I’d say most of CU’s transfers out were not for NIL. Including Gonzales and Rice, none of those guys had the cache to draw big NIL money. Little NIL? Sure. But not big. They wanted to win, and maybe some NIL money while they’re at it.

            And, for Narduzzi, he got Kedon Slovis, which may be a great pick up. And he was quoted as saying “he didn’t ask for a dime” when talking about his return.

            Plus, countless of others we’ll never hear about.

            To me, this whole NIL thing will evolve, and probably settle down, via market forces. I don’t think it can be legislated away, at this point, unless college football implements a trickle down of their 20 billion dollars through to the players (including healthcare post-college in some form, and money for returning to school to get a degree, after your “eligibility” runs out), and basically every other college athlete, as well (since only football and bball foot the bill for them all).

            If they go to a true revenue sharing model, the players, like the NFL and NBA players’ unions, may settle for their unfair share of the revenue pie. Basically being bought from using their leverage to the fullest extent. IE: a players’ strike. Could you imagine that? A national college football players’ strike? It would be kinda hilarious. Or basketball, right before March Madness? “Hey, uh, we’re not playing, until we get paid. Go ahead, kick us out of school. Most of us aren’t here for that anyway.”

            Of course, a players’ union breeds other potential problems: is it possible to have a union representing tens of thousands of players across the country, in a $20-billion industry without some fat cats running that organization syphoning money? That’s just one question, of many.

            But back to the market forces, I’m sure some of the guys throwing around millions now, after a bust or three, or a guy/player going to jail dragging that sponsor name/association through the mud, or a stud transferring, etc. will ease up on the gas pedal of money. Not all will, but I think a majority will. But, who knows? We’ll get to watch it like a slow motion train wreck, of sorts. But I don’t think college football, nor basketball, will necessarily be ruined forever. Solutions will be found. There’s too much money at stake. They just need to figure out how to get it to the people actually working on the fields and courts to make it all happen, in a more equitable way than we’re seeing now.

            Go Buffs

  2. Perhaps Wazzu’s $90K quarterback will bring some solace to their boosters who have seen their program throttled this season with transfer portal defections. And with pundits expecting a new flurry of moves now that spring ball is wrapping up around the country, the rollercoaster isn’t done yet. Meanwhile I saw an updated list of Power 5 transfer losses as of April 18th. The Buffs are in interesting company. To date, the following schools represent the “top ten” in terms of the greatest numbers lost to the portal. Indiana ranks first with 31. Washington State follows behind with 26. Four schools tied for third with 23: Arizona, Colorado, USC, and Maryland. Behind them, four schools tie for seventh with 22: Florida State, Auburn, Ole Miss, and West Virginia.

    1. I don’t know where this NIL is going to end up.

      What if the $90K QB is just a bust, bad offensive line, throws interceptions early and loses confidence? Does the coach have to keep playing him to keep the boosters happy? As I watch the transfer portal, I know this is an odd year with the extra year of eligibility, but I’m amazed at the # of once blue chip prospects that are now in the portal. I’m not sure that they are chasing NIL, rather it looks like many just did not develop and were not part of their teams two-deep, so they decided to move on. CU’s transfer guys were different as many were projected starters … but if NIL were here before is Ashaad the #1 running back just by Booster pay?

      The with the Boosters dropping huge $$ on a certain player . . . does that limit resources for the Athletic Department as a whole, such the facility money will be harder to come bye? Is the AD going to compete against its own players to insure their necessary resources for the arms race?

      What happens when a criminal or gambling element enters the NIL equation? A sleezy booster who either cannot pay, or requires his player to tank a game? Eventually, it will happen…

      In 10 or 15 years, I sort of see an ESPN 30 for 30 film that is part Pony Excess, Part Melvin Shapiro, and Part the 2 Escobars… The Age of NIL (Narco) Football?

      1. Great comments. I’m not sure where this will all end up.
        But it does seem that, in the rush to fill rosters (by whatever means), CU is not on board with the current realities.

  3. How do we “evaluate a HC ability to recruit in NIL?”

    The same way you evaluate a HC in the pros, by their front office & GM; except it’s now going to be boosters! What could go wrong there?

    Recruiting has ended, it’s “Jonny be good” out there and recruiting (when it comes to payday schools) is now an offer period with “campus visits” and incentives to listen along the way.

    That’s where it’ll get interesting: “Here’s a lease on a car [Jeep] paid for during your HS senior year if you commit to X$U.”

    Come via private jet to a BBQ and recruitment party to announce your interest… complete with women and fun! Nothing to go wrong here with 17 year olds.

    Girl/boy friend want to come too, no problem, scholarship for them too.

    That’s just to get them to listen! because there is no draft or rules!

  4. That’s funny. The story about evaluating recruiters now, when pay for play is in the open. I was catching up on some industry reading, and saw that Mat Ishbia who rode the bench on MSU’s basketball team, has an agreement to pay every men’s basketball and football player $6k/yr for NIL. They’re supposed to promote his wholesale mortgage company (ie: no consumer direct channel, yet; well they had one, but closed it years ago) in their social media. So, college kids promoting mortgage companies. Funny. Statistically, I wonder if fewer college kids buy homes, or make it to the pro’s in their sport? Anyway, He’s being blasted for not including women’s sports. And, for trying to keep up w/ Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken and all of their companies, who’s also an MSU grad. Hilarious. So, is Tucker a good recruiter? Getting an assist w/ pay for play? Who knows? Although they have a good QB returning, without another stud RB, I’m not sure they’ll surprise people like they did last year.

    Too bad Trey and Matt don’t seem to give a crap about CU athletics, or at least not enough to toss some cash around (publicly, who knows if they do privately). But, there’s plenty o wealthy alumni who do care. Not sure why they don’t support in that kind of way though. Oh well.

    Go Buffs

  5. To me, where the transfer thing gets really interesting, is if/when the momentum to make college athletes employees takes hold. Are they at-will? Are there employment contracts? Not sure it’ll ever go there, although the argument is legally compelling, but I read another piece this weekend about Congress having a round table about that, and other things.

    From my lens, I have no problem w/ college athletes getting paid beyond their scholarships, stipends, etc. The money they generate is ridiculous, so seems they should get a piece of that pie. How it gets baked? That’s the interesting part.

    Brave new world, indeed.

    Go Buffs

  6. Up to $8mill pledged to a high school kid? And that is why Nick and Kirby were saying “hey, wait a minute, this NIL thing is getting out of hand”. Not sure if their alumni can compete at that level. Although, they probably can, if they want to. There’s rich people everywhere.

    I’m still waiting for that $8mill deal to turn out to be for a kid going to Dartmouth or Yale, or Harvard. That would be hilarious, as someone else on here posted a while back. Who knows? Maybe those guys will want to reclaim their throne atop college football? Their alumni sure have the money.

    Go Buffs

  7. is it just me but it seems paying for a win cheapens it immensely
    I cant see how the current structure of college football will survive these bidding wars.
    Genie is out of the bottle

  8. I admire Rick George for wanting to do NIL the “right” way, but there doesn’t appear to be a “right” way. So just get it done. If he truly want CU to compete for championships in all sports there must be no holds barred. If the NCAA ever does try to apply rules, no one will be retroactively punished. Either join the party or join the MWC. Enough is enough.

  9. A whole lotta thought DIDN’T go into this.

    We knu it ! And…….we knu it wasn’t going to fly right.

    A buncha’ farts in the skull did the planning on this. I would like to see their off-shore investment accounts.

    The only way CU competes is with one hell-u-va program…. AD on Down through the coaches and custodians. Pay the Good Coaches really well. Treat them like royalty on campus, on the sidewalks. You need a campaign….well designed….well implemented. Coaches photos in store windows, CU banners n photos on the walls in every business. Go to Norman, OK….go in to the businesses…..it’s all “OU” – OU – OU – OU.

    Get smart Boulder. Get smarter CU.

    ‘Cmon Boulder get bolder.

  10. surprise surprise (sarcasm for those who need the heads up)
    its now worse than the NFL. At least they have the draft and a salary cap.
    I dont watch any SEC games now and very few Big 10. Maybe there are enough fans at 12 to 15 teams that might have a chance competing that would attract the tv ad rights for them to play each other in a “premier league.”
    I see USC and Oregon joining the league. Stanford (and boosters)has the money but with their rep for academics will they? Ditto with UCLA.
    Stuart does an eyeroll over the NCAA’s lip service in modifying the NIL. I see it more of an extended guffaw. Seems to me 85% of the college teams inn this country, Buffs included, should go back to more of an amature status with strict rules on spending and run from the NCAA and form an admin organization that will actually enforce them in an even and deserved manner.

    1. Completely agree.

      I kind of want to see it go off the rails and out of the ashes a new armature college league rises, with rules regarding recruiting. While those that chase the money recruits get their own league, how many wins and losses will the top 20 something to 30 something teams have when they are stuck playing only each other?

      A completely new league, no games against anyone else, they’re now pros and we are not, the NFL doesn’t play any other leagues so no games against cup cakes. They will now have records like the NFL use to have before they incorporated the salary caps to go along with, last place finish equals first round daft picks. With no draft the lower half will be crying when the big money takes all of the top recruits and leave them to be the doormat of the REALLY BIG schools. Yankees v a minor league team, except with out a draft, they are the minor league team; just in the same league.

      Good luck with that!

      Could a Neb really compete money wise with a UT, A&M or other SEC teams?

      Oregon with Knight’s and other Nike officers money that went to OU maybe could.

      USC has a giant market in SoCal and rich fan base.

      1. Nebraska ….hoo ha
        If you have ever been around the many millionaire farmers these days they love to whine about going broke. They will be rabid husker fans until their NIL contribution bites into a combine payment

        1. And Nike U has gotten over a billion from Knight and how many NC?

          Maybe giving that money directly to the recruits will change that! Not.

          As long as OU continue to hire SEC guys that will bolt when they get an offer to go home they will be chasing the top programs. If they could have attracted a hire like USC just did they could, but LA is a giant market with Hollywood right down the street and a whole state of talent that wants to go there.

          Just a few years ago many of the blue chips from CA wanted to go to USC, I think Riley will bring that back along with talent from the mid-west and sec.

  11. So if your a Buff fan, you ain’t gonna get those 4 or 5 stars that will be getting all the money anyway. And probably not the high 3 stars either.

    Yup there will be exceptions, but it will be 3 stars and some 2 stars and some 4 stars sprinkled in.
    What a disaster.

    Wait its mostly been like that anyway.
    So?

    Comes down to coaching.

    Gotta have the teachers and motivators on board and aligned.

    lotta 3 star and 2 star and even no stars in the superbowl

    I don’t want some big time player doing big time pay for play.

    Screw em

    Do it how it was intended.

    Chips are gonna fall where they fall…………..and there may be suprises.

    Buffs

  12. Where is Pasta Jay? That guy gets 2 hours of free advertising every time Walton does a Buffs game in Boulder. Inquiring minds…

  13. Brendon my man, you coudn’t have picked a better Boulder sponsor. Not sure if I spent more time in my room, class or there.

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