The name, image and likeness deals were appropriately celebrated after the NCAA announced it was finally allowing people who made them billions of dollars to get paid, too. As crazy as it sounds, the NIL offerings are a big step up from what used to be the norm. Unfortunately, the gluttons at the table do not even give up the crumbs that fall from the edge of their mouths and are content to send children to scrounge what they can.
Some partnerships are perfectly harmless with local businesses sponsoring an athlete because his name is ideal for an HVAC spokesperson. Bryce Young deserves the money he’s making from the NIL deals, and he’s doing so well that Alabama is getting in on the action. With so much money to be made legitimately, the frenzy has attracted the sharks.
A court ruling last year allowed agencies to offer players cash upfront in exchange for a percentage of future winnings. The speculative investing strategy has been around for a while, according to the CBS Sports article. Young golfers do it, and it’s been happening in boxing for decades.
Now, Big League Advantage (BLA) is approaching college athletes — who don’t have a fancy enough name, a garish enough skill set, or a high enough position to earn a truckload of NIL money — cash. in advance for a song on the backend. While the article stated that BLA had yet to make a profit, all it needed to do was hit a few leads to turn the tide. The company’s most prominent client, Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., signed a 14-year, $310 million contract a year ago, and BLA got between 1 and 15 percent (the window of his current rate) of that contract.
My issue is not the risk of investing in teens, nor how often the student-athlete will be the sole beneficiary of this deal. What angers me is that these kids shouldn’t have to choose between cash for a percentage of their future income, or nothing. If Georgia All-SEC preseason linebacker and BLA client Nolan Smith Jr. was on UGA’s books and still wanted to give up points on what could be a long and lucrative NFL career , Go for it.
That said, which college football player demographic is most likely to need some JG Wentworth 877-Cash-Now crap? Hint: This is the most popular demo in sports.
The fact that speculative investing has existed in boxing for ages should ring alarm bells. The BLA may not be Don King scamming Mike Tyson out of generational wealth, but may be taking millions out of athletes’ pockets because they’re not marketable enough for a NIL deal and can’t afford to wait for an NFL payday is the kind of scenario made avoidable by the NCAA paying its workforce.
The Crimson Tide adopts the Green Wave
Speaking of outcomes that should be avoided, how is Alabama allowed to sell NIL gear at Bryant-Denny Stadium? The university has partnered with Fanatics to create the Authentic, a new in-stadium store that will feature licensed team apparel as well as NIL merchandise.
I guess the biggest draw of the outlet won’t be an autographed football but rather the shirts with the names on the back, which are still not allowed to be sold directly by schools, of all the issues, name and resemblance hiccups.
The first thing Bama should have done once he decided to make a bunch of no-name No. 9 jerseys is quit, add Young on his back, and pay the Heisman winner a portion of the profits. Tide’s NIL Shop is sure to be replicated by countless schools and hailed as a way to directly support their student-athletes.
And as altruistic as these colleges make them seem, do you think they’re going to stop taking a cut of the sales because of a name on the back when their name is on the front? The NCAA allows all of these rules and loopholes to grow because they know they can’t tell student-athletes enough is enough when they’ve never sheathed their greed.
These exceptions aren’t enough, however, and they create chaos as children try to capitalize by any means necessary – leading to borderline predatory tactics and ethical puzzles that won’t stop (or at least only slightly relieve themselves) than when student-athletes are on the college payroll.