The NIL’s Effect on Collegiate Athletics

College athletics will never be the same.

The Supreme Court's 9-0 dunking on the NCAA allowed for college athletes to cash in on name, image, and likeness deals. While the Court's decision makes complete and total sense, the fact that the NCAA didn't set any guidelines and pretty much let everything run rampant was a big surprise.

Now, the landscape of college athletics will have a few seismic shifts as athletes look to see not only where they can play, but where they can be sponsored.

The first likely shift? The rise of big city programs.

Where there's money to be made, there's going to be recruits that much more interested. Granted, as long as Nick Saban roams the sidelines in Tuscaloosa, Alabama will get their share of players without any NIL assistance. But we've already seen where a gym owner is giving $500/month to each and every Miami Hurricane player. You think Southern Cal and UCLA won't benefit from big boosters in Los Angeles? Think of the large sponsorship deals one could land in Las Vegas ... think UNLV is drooling at the possibilities? Even private schools such as Northwestern and Vanderbilt (if Vandy decides to renovate their facilities) stand to improve their chances from being in large metro areas. SMU just landed a four-star commitment from Jordan Hudson, who de-committed from Oklahoma. Think the lure of Dallas deals didn't help any?

Big metros equal big bucks, and programs that weren't getting a lot of attention will start to be getting a lot.

The second biggest shift? Mid-majors will benefit more than one thinks.

Imagine being a four-star recruit at a Power Five school who still feels they're not getting the playing time they deserve. They can go to another Power Five, or they could go to a mid-major and suddenly, instead of being near the middle or back of the sponsorship line, they're right at the front. Again, one could focus on mid-major programs in big cities: Memphis, Tulane, Cincinnati, UCF. However, even the biggest name in smaller towns, or lower divisions, stands to profit a lot more than riding the bench at a bigger school. If you disagree, find out the deals that North Dakota State's best players make next year.

The third biggest shift? The have nots will hit new lows.

The toughest blow delivered with the NIL news will go to the schools (and there's a lot of them) that not only aren't in big metros, but also lack the boosters and businesses that it'll take to lure top talent onto campus. College athletics was always a money game; it's now a money game on steroids. Schools with loads of money, good TV contracts and big boosters giving financial support will have no trouble finding success, even if they're in a dogfight for players each year. It'll be the schools that have smaller budgets, outside of any big metro area and lack the financial clout of athletic supporters that will enlarge the gap between the haves and the have nots.

The last big shift? The NCAA itself.

There is no way the status quo will stay. The NCAA has to reinvent itself and how it governs its member colleges and universities. They're going to have to establish laws and limits and, most importantly, actually hold them accountable and in quick order. If they let this go without any limitations, college athletics could be so expensive that it might crater on its own. However, they can't be too harsh on it either, lest they want more courtroom battles and the potential of the Power Five just breaking off on their own and leaving the NCAA in shambles.

This is crunch time for the NCAA. They can't afford to screw this up, which is tougher for them since they've screwed so, so much up in the last couple of decades alone. But college athletics needs them to get this right. If they can deliver a smooth but fair NIL program, it'll be a golden era for college sports, especially football. If they fail ... let's just say they can't risk that scenario.

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