College Sports NIL (A Gift or a Curse?)

College Sports NIL (A Gift or a Curse?)

Alexander Stuppel, Sports Columnist

On July 1st, 2021 a new age of college sports began outside of the NCAA. The Name, Image, and Likeness (abbreviated NIL) rule became in full effect as all athletes could profit off of their play and social image. For the first time in history, the student-athletes had a chance to make money instead of the mighty, money hungry NCAA. Up until the last couple weeks, this was, and still is, a great decision for all college sports. However, the more popular sports of football and basketball have taken this regulation to the next level. 

Recently, the recruiting and transfer portal periods of both sports have started. This is where schools can take advantage of recruits with something like an NIL deal, which is where unfair situations have occurred. Obviously, some recruits will take the most money possible no matter what school offers it. For example, Texas A&M football has hauled in the highest ranked recruiting class ever because of a combination of recruiting and NIL money for all of the players. Tennessee football also has used the NIL to its advantage as rumors have stated that an $8 million dollar deal was given out to their 2023 quarterback prospect Nico Iamaleava. The way these schools are generating so much money is through booster funded organizations that plan to have annual incomes specifically for recruiting players in order to win championships. 

Besides booster organizations, company deals are also a huge factor in the NIL. Texas running back Bijan Robinson just signed a massive deal with Lamborghini worth $800,000 a year and his own car! Restaurants and food companies like Outback Steakhouse, Buffalo WIld Wings, Gatorade, and Dr. Pepper have also gotten into the mix, signing multiple athletes from different schools across the country. 

Controversy has sparked through the enactment of this rule. Some fans believe that this has created an unfair advantage between schools. Although it is great for college athletes to be paid, these outrageous NIL deals have definitely created gaps in between different sports programs. On top of that, it may be unfair to some players since receiving an NIL deal is usually for more popular athletes. Even in locker rooms there is a difference among players being paid or not. I guess only time will tell to see if schools start to get better players and win more based on “paying” for recruits. Who knows, regulations may have to be put into place because of all of these complicated deals.