College sports aren’t balanced.
Whether you look at facilities, television deals or just brand image in general, Penn State and Temple will never be considered equal.
One has a much higher budget and status for athletes coming out of high school or searching for a destination in the transfer portal.
In each college sport, both revenue and non-revenue, there is a clear rift in everything from food to recruiting.
Just look at college football: how many teams could actually win a championship in any given year?
The power is consolidated to a number of schools — Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Notre Dame, to name a few.
In the seven years of the College Football Playoff, just 11 different schools have been featured in the four-team championship.
College sports aren’t fair and balanced right now, so why are we worried what name, image and likeness legislation will do to this?
According to a recent survey of 99 Division I athletic directors by the AP, 73.5% said allowing athletes to be compensated for their NIL will decrease the number of schools competitive in college sports.
As opposed to what we already have now?
Assuming NIL rights are universal across the country, what is really going to change?
The kids that are going to go to Alabama are going to go to Alabama, the kid that’s going to New Mexico State is still going to go to New Mexico State.
NIL profits will all be personalized.
The way I see it, a starting quarterback at New Mexico State could make more money from endorsements than a third-string guy at Alabama.
This is me being purely speculative because as of right now, we don’t really know the guidelines and who will be able to profit and when, among a million other questions.
Just because athletes have NIL rights doesn't mean big schools like Penn State are going to flood millions of dollars into non-revenue sports.
In the AP article, Loyola Maryland athletic director Donna Woodruff said new NIL rules would benefit programs like women’s and men’s lacrosse, which are regularly considered some of the best in the country.
This would allow these lacrosse athletes to gain a bigger platform.
“So there may be a disproportionate opportunity or an imbalance, but I don’t think it’s as great as some may fear,” Woodruff said in the AP article.
Some of the athletic directors in the article hinted that social media followers might be the most powerful tool, not necessarily how good a certain player is on the court or field.
The reason athletic directors are opposed to this NIL legislation is athletes will finally be gaining some power.
In a different AP survey of 99 Division I athletic directors, 69.1% “strongly opposed” universities being required to give college athletes a share of university revenue.
Meanwhile, 49% said their school is “not at all likely” to share revenue with athletes in revenue-generating sports.
NIL rules are the start of college athletes finally getting paid and earning a cut of the multi-billion dollar industry.
And this scares athletic directors.
This also raises the question of who actually supports the athletes in the current college sports landscape?
It’s certainly not the NCAA and, apparently, not the athletic directors either.
The answer is nobody but athletes themselves.
Student-athletes have been fighting this initial NIL battle entirely on their own, fighting their own schools — the places that recruited them with a promise of growth.
The college system isn’t balanced right now, and NIL rights could make this worse, but at the end of the day, college athletes are being denied a basic right in a money-making business.
Athletic directors are worried about “competitive balance” when college athletes have been taken advantage of for generations.
So as the decision from the Supreme Court in the NCAA v. Alston case looms, college athletes are once again being left out to dry, and this time, it’s by their own schools.