Nil: One Year In…

Roller Coaster, Wild Wild West, or Biz as Usual?

Here we are, One year in on Name Image Likeness.

“According to Opendorse,The NIL market is on pace to reach more than $500 million within the first year and it could reach $1 billion if booster collectives continue to aggressively increase.”1

In the $19 Billion college sports industry ($6B-NCAA), thats a 5% penetration into the market, by the very workforce which fuels the market. With 5-10 thousand potential player/athlete benefactors, it could be a game-changer.

However, there are less than 100 known 6-figure or better individual deals (there are several 6-figure “team deals”) on the books.

“More data from Opendorse (Jan 2022), the average NIL compensation for Division I athletes is $471, while for Division II athletes, the average is $81, and for Division III athletes, they received a whopping $47 (dollars, not thousands). These numbers not only show how unjust this is to the athletes at the lower levels, it also shows how insensitive it is to think NIL will actually help all athletes. It might sponsor a trip to the grocery store, but that’s about it.”2

So the top 1-5% of athletes are raking in all the money. The other 95-99% need a monthly stipend from the NCAA to try and survive poverty & starvation while in college. Opendorse says that 60% of NIL is going to Football, 18% is going to female athletes, and the rest (22%) is going to everybody else. The media trumpets the few (and far between) 6-7 figure deals…as though everyone is getting them. The reality is that the average athlete is getting his/her $471.

Hardly the ‘wild, wild West’ scenario that many university administrators and their 7-8 figure head coaches are crying about.

The 2020 NCPA study shows fair market value for Div 1 mens football and basketball athletes ranged from $208K to $551K annually. So NIL is less than a drop in the bucket for the vast majority of players.

The NCAA put out minimal guidance a year ago, expecting Congressional action. There was none. A recent NCAA Update promises to go after “extreme cases” where obvious ‘pay-for-play’ is involved.

Many big-time booster collectives at major schools seem itching for a fight and are boldly talking smack in the media. Several proposed bills have seen the light of day, but Congress is preoccupied with repealing old voting and right to choose laws, promoting partisan legislation, and helping their party with midterm elections.

NIL can wait.

The best proposed bill for players is the Bluementhal-Booker bill, the so-called Player Bill of Rights.

We’ve already gotten to the point of various NIL Collectives spitting venom at competitor collectives (UK vs TAMU) over tactics in signing players. It looks like pay-for-play in several cases we’ve seen this Spring involving returning players & transfers at major schools. (if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…it’s a UK Wildcat. However, if it’s in Florida…it’s a Gator, unless it’s south of Orlando…then it’s a UM Hurricane.)

CBS Online talking heads Parrish & Norlander were gleefully challenging the NCAA to go after NIL Collectives – expecting fat cat collective’s lawyers to beatdown the NCAA in court.

Expect congress to get to NIL legislation when either –
A. After several major school NIL Booster Collectives grossly break/override state laws/ncaa provisions, conducting ‘pay for play’ in an egregious, wanton manner – with total disregard and disdain for ‘the rules’. See Texas, UK, Florida, Miami, Bama, others.
B. Several athletes get taken advantage of and abused via unscrupulous contracting and refusals to pay by companies, aggressive agents, and opportunistic Nil Collectives. It’s a matter of time when, not if