How the shape and image of College Football will face a downslide due to NIL


Name, image, and likeness. NIL.

It was the deal that sold the fate of almost every underdog pushing for the playoffs. Reggie Bush, Terrelle Prior, and the rest of the “tattooed five”. There are a ton of athletes who deserved to make money before, now it’s anyone who can get paid.

It started with the state of California. In 2019, Sen. Nancy Skinner passed a bill that prohibited schools from punishing athletes that accept endorsement money while in college. Although the bill was set to take action in 2023, the NCAA saw this as a major threat to the future of its leagues. Many other states began to follow suit with Cali, which led to the Supreme Court accepting the terms of all the bills being passed.

This led up to the “D-Day” of college sports on June 30, 2021. On that day, the NCAA adopted its temporary plan to allow student-athletes to get paid, and come July 1 of the same year, players got the bag.

Now, any school can help get its student-athletes sponsorship deals, which is more likely if you are a prestigious program. The Ivy League will not be handling NIL’s, which now puts its recruiting phase in jeopardy since the athletes can no longer receive extra money in its league.

Of course, we all know who is going to be here for the biggest NIL deals. Alabama Heisman winner Bryce Young signed a $1 million contract with CashApp before his historic season. Both LSU starters Myles Brennan and Derek Stingley Jr. were thrown bags from Smoothie King, and Miami’s QB D’Eriq King signed July 1 as well. I can go on and on about the big-school signings.

For small schools, this is where they struggle. Schools like Coastal Carolina and Louisana are having great success in football these past few seasons; regardless, they struggle to get NIL deals from national companies, unlike the national powers who have been around forever. Notre Dame, Texas, USC, Georgia, Florida–you name it. All the schools benefit from NIL’s because they have a national following. Unless you are Master P’s kid, who signed a $2 million deal while playing basketball at Tennesse State, you are unlikely to get a large amount of money.

Now, this is where my opinion of why the NIL is going to ruin college sports comes in.

Grambling State is attempting to be the first school to officially let athletes be on its payroll. If that works out, I believe every other university will follow suit, which will lead to the big schools with big money donors taking all the top recruits, just like the recruiting class of 2022. This year, the highest-ranked non-power 5 football team (besides Notre Dame and Cincinnati), Houston, ranks at 49. The Cougars received one four-star recruit, even though they are in one of the biggest cities in the country. The market in Houston should bring in a huge amount of NIL deals to UH’s college-athletes, but instead, Houston has to build off of 16 three-stars.

Only one of the thirty-four five-stars chose to go a non-power five, that player being the number one recruit Travis Hunter, who chose to make history and be the highest-ranked recruit to ever attend an HBCU (Historically Black College and University.) That being said, the NIL deals that will follow will also be historic. There is already rumored to be a $1.5 million Barstool Sports contract that was offered to Hunter, but the head coach of Jackson State and one of the biggest moneymakers of all time, Deion Sanders, denied that rumor.

In my opinion, these next few years will see college athletes set up on payroll at each university. It is just a matter of time before Texas, Alabama, USC, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Clemson, or someone else is going to be the first to do it in the power five. This will take away our underdogs. Unless they can find a way to keep up with the major power colleges, schools like Ohio State and Oregon will dominate all sports, while schools that have been more successful these past few years like Iowa State, Utah, and Northwestern will fall off.