Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Into the great wide open

 Name, Image and Likeness is going to transform college football, and we may not like all the changes.

Speaking to a convention of Texas High School football coaches earlier this week, Alabama coach Nick Saban said, 

“Our QB has already approached ungodly numbers, and he hasn’t even played yet. If I told you what it is … it’s almost seven figures.”

Bryce Young is a very talented quarterback, but he hasn't taken a snap in a college game.

At SEC Media Days, Saban elaborated. "Some positions, some players will have more opportunities than others. How that's going to impact the team...I really can't answer...

"It will be important for our team success to not have somebody looking over their shoulder."

Back in the '90s, two things occurred that changed college football dramatically, largely for the better.

The 1st was the expansion of TV exposure, going from a single game of the week to revenue and exposure opportunities for every school. The 2nd was the 85-man scholarship limit. 

Together, these changes made college football a more interesting game. They opened up more opportunities for more teams to hire good coaches, upgrade their facilities and recruit good talent.

There was an explosion of interest in the sport, and new teams started showing up in major bowl games and the Top 25.

Few teams had a more dramatic rise than the Oregon Ducks. Phil Knight was a powerful catalyst, but the increased exposure and rising talent level helped make Oregon a national brand.

Chances are the Ducks will be one of the winners in the brave new world of NIL, but a lot of teams and players are going to be left behind. It could ruin the sport.

"You don’t know how it will effect things. The question is because it won’t be equal - everything we’ve done in the past has been equal: equal scholarships - how that will impact your team, I can’t answer, because we don’t have any precedent." Saban said.


  1. I am concerned about the Olympic sports and Womens Sports being pushed out because they are not profitable. So many unintended consequences could play out.

    1. That would be a tremendous shame. There are multiple tectonic shifts in college sports--just today a story in the Houston Chronicle told that Texas and Oklahoma are working behind the scenes to join the SEC.

      The rich will continue to get richer, and everyone else goes back to the 1970s. A dozen blue bloods will dominate college football, and the rest will be priced out.

      Imagine Oregon sports without Liz Brenner, Sabrina Ionescu, Haley Cruse or Raevyn Rogers.

  2. I actually think NIL will help women sports and other non full scholarship sports. The athletes with the most followers on social media usually come from those sports.

    The big money will lure many players to a few teams, unless the money shows up in new places. Could the Beavers suddenly draw blue blood talent if they had booster support for NIL?

    This will change everything.
    I see it trickling down to high-school as well. Parents will become more concerned about playing time and development. Kids will end up playing year round even more than already..

    We will see many changes over the next few years. And most likely, many abuses as well.

  3. You might be right about women's sports and I hope you are. Sabrina Ionescu, Raevyn Rogers and Haley Cruse would have made a fortune in NIL.

    This does trickle down in all kinds of unanticipated ways. Players and their families have a lot more at stake.