We live in unprecedented times as current college football fans. Last season was pretty crazy, but it was nothing compared to what this offseason had in store. Since Georgia won the National Championship, there have been huge head coaching changes that have shifted the balance of power in college football, thousands of players have transferred in and out of their respective schools, and two head coaching titans taking petty shots at each other like they’re campaigning for prom queen.
What’s the catalyst for all of this college football chaos you might ask? Name image and likeness, or NIL deals. In 2019, California became the first state to pass a law allowing college athletes to profit on their name, image, and likeness. However, The lack of structure put in place by the NCAA regarding NIL has opened up what J.J. Redick and many others have called “The wild-wild west”, or “free agency at the college level”. Ironically, California was at the center of what kicked off the craziness that has been the 2022 offseason, as Lincoln Riley took the mantle of most hated man in Oklahoma from Kevin Durant by taking the head coaching job at USC.
With rumors swirling of seven figure deals and sports cars, recruits being bought straight out, and coaches tampering with each others’ players, it’s safe to say NIL should be a big deal for players and coaches. But what about the fans? Should we just accept that our favorite players could leave at any time for greener pastures and more money? What about smaller schools who can’t afford to have NIL collectives as promises to recruits? Is NIL really a good thing for fans of college football?
As a fan who always thought college athletes should be getting paid, I think NIL deals are a great idea, but sadly the NCAA has only used them as an excuse to avoid creating an equitable revenue split with the players. Now players can be offered any amount of money from any team and I don’t blame them for making the best decision for them and their families.
I think NIL can be great for fans. We can get jerseys with players' names on them, the NCAA football games are coming back, and players can sign stuff without worrying about losing everything. However, I do agree with the czar of football that the system does need a major overhaul with rules and regulations to keep it from being complete chaos.
What do you think about NIL deals, are they good for college football or college sports in general? How do you feel about their impact on the fans? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments and if you’re team Nick or team Jimbo!