Historically, NFL first and second-rounders become millionaires after a team drafts them. It’s a life-changing moment for them and their families. But the new NIL program is changing this because many of the top players are already very rich. This means that the dynamic between younger and older players won’t be the same.
Some former college players may be wealthier than some of their NFL compatriots. This may cause tension in the locker room and resentment from seasoned pros. Meanwhile, some athletes may develop serious egos. Imagine how bad Johnny Manziel would have been if this was around in his day (via Beacon-Journal).
Nobody is naive enough to believe that boosters didn’t influence high school players before the NIL program came to be. Officially, it’s against the rules for them to play a role in signing athletes now too. But now they’re forming collectives that gather resources and help schools assemble NIL packages for young stars.
MAC Commissioner John Steinbrecher told Sports Illustrated: “We’ve talked long and hard about how institutions are not supposed to be in the business of setting up things, and we are seeing that institutions are now setting up these collectives. That’s not name, image, and likeness—that’s pay for play.”
Most college players know that they won’t make it to the NFL but some are on the brink. If they don’t receive NIL deals like the very best athletes they may lose motivation and this could affect their team’s results. We’ve discussed morale in the locker room, but this is a question of intrinsic value.
Jealousy may arise because the elite players depend on their supporting cast to win games. They can’t do it by themselves but they’ll make the money from it. Meanwhile, the other members of the roster will know this and may not feel motivated to push themselves if there’s no long-term gain (via Sporting News).
Another problem is that many of the students who benefit from NIL deals will receive bigger scholarships. Ironically, the players who will need the money more won’t receive as much funding. This is something that needs to change because it’s not fair. If a college star earns over a specified amount from NIL benefits perhaps they should forfeit their scholarship.
Scholarships enable students to study at a reduced cost in recognition of their excellence. But the highest-paid players won’t depend on their education after they leave college because they made so much money. This isn’t true of the athletes who play football for the love of the sport (via Daily Trojan).
It will be fascinating to see how the NIL program affects team morale. There will be a stark discrepancy in earning power between the different positions. Yes, this is the same in the NFL but players accept that because they’re professionals. But it’s different in college football because only one percent will turn pro.
“This whole thing has the potential to tear a locker room apart,” one coach told TMG Sports. “Football is a team game. What is going to happen when the star quarterback is driving a fancy car and has all this money from various deals? Are they going to block for this guy as hard as they did before?”
Many people forget that college football players are usually young men. They don’t have a lot of experience dealing with the media or playing in front of massive crowds. The NCAA level is a good proving ground before the one percent goes to the NFL. But the NIL program is changing everything and increasing the pressure (via New York Post).
One super-agent told the New York Post: “The one danger here that also needs to fit into the calculations is overexposure at a time when a player’s football career hasn’t been established.” People act hysterically on social media and abuse athletes when they underperform. This can have a traumatic effect on their development.
There’s a strong chance that many coaches don’t appreciate the new system. Many college players already had an inflated sense of self-importance. But now this may reach an extreme because some of them are multimillionaires. This will enhance their egos and also make them difficult to control.
It may alter the dynamic between coaches and players. Furthermore, NFL coaches will deal with a more cynical type of player because they already achieved their wealth. This is a challenge for everybody as they learn to adapt to the NIL program. We’re not saying the players shouldn’t make money but it could be problematic (via BCS).
Texas is experiencing a remarkable revival after the introduction of the new NIL program. We’ve spoken about Nick Saban’s outrage because Texas A&M spends so much money. He says that they effectively bought their entire roster to the Aggies’ chagrin. Meanwhile, the Longhorns are also on the move.
One donor group gathered $10 million to entice the best players to their team. The Texan antics demonstrate everything bad about the NIL program because they’re out of control. It’s safe to say that this isn’t what the NCAA wanted when they introduced it. But that’s the result of poor planning (via Swim Swam).
The biggest issue with the NIL program is that there is no equalizer for small schools. This means that it will be very difficult for them to retain their best players or entice exciting talents. The NFL draft works effectively because the worst players get the best young players the following summer.
This can change the course of a franchise if they have the right coach in place. Just look at Joe Burrow in Cincinnati. But there’s no equivalent or spending cap with the NIL program and this creates an imbalance. Legislators must find some kind of solution or there won’t be any competition at all (via ESPN).
Everybody knows that quarterbacks make the most money in the NFL. Meanwhile, wideouts, edges, and tackles also have a lot of bargaining power because they’re playing specialty positions. However, professional players accept their lot but college athletes might not be as forthcoming (via Palm Beach Post).
For example, there could be a deficit of decent running backs in the future because they all try to play wide receiver. It doesn’t matter if they don’t make it to the NFL if they become millionaires in college. This could happen to other positions on the field. Meanwhile, there may also be resentment because some players earn more from their NIL deals.
One Dallas-based agent had a fascinating perspective on how the NIL program may change the NFL. He believes that many athletes may stay in school because they will make more money. Ron Slavin shared this controversial opinion with NFL.com and thinks that it will be a serious issue.
He said: “I think guys that might stay back in school are (popular) skill-position players that aren’t top-100 picks, who can make more money staying in school than going into the draft for a $250,000 signing bonus and maybe make a roster when they can go back to their school, be the superstar, and maybe make $500,000 to a million.”
It may be increasingly important for an athlete to be attractive if they want to succeed. Several high-level female athletes like Olivia Dunne won huge deals because of their looks and skills. Typically, fans hold male athletes to a different standard and don’t judge them for their appearances as intensely.
But every tiny advantage helps and that’s why a handsome male football player may benefit. If a company thinks they are marketable it could change the course of their football career. Teams will judge these athletes on their skills but also their appearances and social media visibility (via Sports Illustrated).
Another side-effect of the NIL program is that players will try to extort their teams. It makes sense because why should they stay if another school is offering more money? This was always going to be a problem unless they introduced restrictions around the transfer portal. However, the troubles have already started (via Sporting News).
Nick Saban acknowledged that his players earn more than most of the nation. But he says it’s inevitable that players will hold teams to ransom. He said: “You can do it in recruiting. I mean, if that’s what we want college football to be, I don’t know. And you can also get players to get in the transfer portal to see if they can get more someplace else than they can get at your place.”
The new NIL rules have had a profound effect on college sports across the nation. Schools are concentrating their resources on football and basketball because they’re the most lucrative. Meanwhile, they’ve dropped hundreds of other sports like diving and swimming. That’s because they don’t generate enough revenue (via Swim Swam).
However, this may have a severe impact on the U.S. Olympic team. Talented athletes are facing limited options as schools close programs. There’s even talk of Congress intervening and limiting spending on football because of the disproportionate impact on other sports. Something needs to happen because there’s a crisis around the corner.
It’s a fact that football receives more attention and benefits than other sports. Some athletes will enjoy the new system because of their good looks. But college programs will likely focus on football even more than before because of the revenue it can generate. This isn’t fair but money makes the world go around.
Indeed, this isn’t ruining football but it’s against the spirit of the sport. These days, college athletics are all about milking profits and exploiting students. Now the athletes have a chance to take their revenge and bully schools instead. Football players are in the best position out of all of these sportspeople (via FOX 9)
It will be interesting to see if college players have the same motivation to make it to the NFL. Some of them may become millionaires before they even enter the Draft. That’s one of the reasons why the NIL program is a failure. It’s too much money at once and it’s against the spirit of the college game.
Yes, universities and divisions indeed exploited athletes for a long time. But this is continuing because they’re still not paying the players a salary. However, some of them are earning more money now from endorsements than their coaches ever will. It’s a wild situation but perhaps not a healthy one (via Bleacher Report).
Some boosters and sponsors may wield their influence over teams and force them to play undeserving players. Nobody wants to see this happen but the NIL program may cause it. After all, if a company is paying thousands of dollars to a quarterback, they want to know that he is starting.
It won’t happen to every team but it wouldn’t be a surprise if schools instructed coaches to avoid dropping their biggest names. That’s an issue because it may affect their sporting integrity and restrict the opportunities of more deserving athletes. Nobody wants to be the backup QB in this situation (via Populous).
Some players will receive terrible advice from parents and boosters because of short-term financial gain. There’s a strong chance that athletes will reject proven programs because they’re chasing cash. For example, Southern California may offer richer rewards than the Georgia Bulldogs.
But everybody knows which program is elite. It’s not unreasonable for a lesser athlete to choose the path with guaranteed money. But some stars may damage their NFL dreams because they didn’t join the best school for their needs. In sum, money makes people do stupid things (via SBNation).
We fantasize that our favorite college players love the team and feel a strong attachment to it. The reality is that they came to the best program available. But when they stay for a couple of seasons and create memories it doesn’t matter. Unfortunately, many fans won’t experience this because of the new NIL program.
It’s having a serious impact on the transfer portal as college athletes switch schools like Leonardo DiCaprio changes girlfriends. We’ve seen college players spend six seasons with the same team but this may never happen again. Some schools may see the benefit of bringing in an older player to guide their younger stars (via TWSN).
Some people fear that the NIL program may hurt college football. They think that the NCAA will point to it as an excuse to defer the salary dream. Many people think that college athletes deserve a salary because the sport is so lucrative. They put their bodies on the line but the majority don’t reap the rewards.
Yes, most of them receive scholarships but it’s not the same as a stable income. Meanwhile, executives and schools make millions off their backs. Some of them will receive endorsements because of the NIL program but these won’t be evenly distributed. It remains a two-tier system and it’s more divisive than ever (via Sportico).
In 2022, Bryce Young allegedly made $3.2 million in NIL deals. Meanwhile, C.J. Stroud and Caleb Williams both made about $2.5 million. These players are at the top of the college football food chain but this is the beginning. There will likely be an explosion and some athletes will eventually earn more than five million dollars.
This could have a profound effect on the NFL because some players may opt out of the draft. It may be a tiny minority but some of them may think that head trauma isn’t worthwhile. They will already be millionaires and may choose to focus on external business interests than risking concussions (via Action Network).
Another issue with the NIL program is that it may change how teams scout athletes. The best teams pursue five-star recruits and analyze them based on their attributes. But marketability may become a key factor and influence teams. If somebody has thousands of Instagram followers and good looks a team may choose them.
We’ve already seen this in other college sports outside of football. Furthermore, this may have a profound effect on the draft because big-brand athletes may be more attractive. An NFL franchise may prefer a Texas running back with millions of fans over a similar Fresno player with a lower profile (via Front Office Sports).
In truth, small schools have always struggled to compete against the biggest programs. Throughout the past decade, the likes of Baylor, TCU, and Boise State enjoyed moderate success. They combined clever recruitment with great coaching as they overachieved against the top teams (via Bleacher Report).
Now there is another hurdle that they must overcome. It will be extremely difficult for them to lure the same talent to their rosters now. That’s because it will be challenging for them to make lucrative connections with sponsors who can pay young players. The imbalance is growing and it’s incredibly unfair.
The biggest issue with the NIL program is that bigger schools have all of the advantages. A glance at Texas A&M’s fortunes shows the impact that it had on their roster and results. They had several garbage years but suddenly turned it around after luring young high-school stars to their program.
Bigger schools will continue to attract the best players because they offer more financial opportunities. There has always been an imbalance but this is disproportionate. Nick Saban’s outrage is reasonable because the proof’s in the pudding. These teams are blowing their rivals out of the water because they’re attracting better sponsors (via CBS Sports).