American sports fans – both in high school and college – are poised to witness a sea change in the management and marketing of athletes at both levels of play. It will irrevocably change the landscape of amateur sport forever. .
Amateur sports enthusiasts have been popular since the turn of the century. Who can forget movies like Hoosiers, Rudy or Friday Night Lights? Or Miracle, the tale of what is arguably the greatest sports history of all time – the 1980 US hockey team winning Olympic gold at Lake Placid?
Competition in its purest form. Unfortunately for fans, competitions celebrating the love of the sport may be heading for a rushed exit from their collective experience as name, image, and likeness (NIL) laws are passed.
Newly implemented NIL laws will allow payment to college athletes for the use of their image. The result is a new class of athletes called semi-professionals. Student-athletes will receive payment during their enrollment at a higher education institution, many of which receive federal and state tax grants. Notably, American colleges and universities offer an important product – an educated population – that far surpasses any other nation.
In college sports, each division handles NIL issues differently. In late 2019, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Board of Governors called on the three divisions to enforce rules that make it easier for student-athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image or likeness. Rule changes ordered by the board must maintain a clear distinction between college and professional sports and preserve the NCAA’s goal of higher education. This reaffirms that college athletes are first and foremost students, not employees. Changes must also take into account the unique recruiting environment in college sports, which does not exist elsewhere. The NCAA board of governors has been unable to reach consensus on the rule changes. As a result, as of July 1, 2021, five states have passed their own laws regarding the NIL.
The ability of any student-athlete to fundraise on the basis of their NIL will forever change the tenor of the sport. thousands of dollars and they don’t? It can be argued that resentment will be an unintended consequence of the implementation of NIL laws.
It is well documented that injecting money into any sport dramatically changes the dynamic among coaches, players and fans. The focus shifts from athletic success to financial gain. The questions surrounding the student-athlete will be “How much money can I make?” Also, “How can I do more? “And above all,” Who will represent me? It is essential to recognize that the student-athlete is not the only party that stands to gain financially from the NIL laws.
Naive student-athletes must be protected from potentially unscrupulous sports agents. This cannot be stressed enough. How can we be sure that the new NIL agents will not take advantage of the young student-athletes?
Much of the current discussion is focused on college sports right now. It won’t be long before high school students are recruited by sports agents. Paid gambling will forever change the landscape of amateur sports at the high school and college levels. Will we love him? I doubt it, but it’s here. Change is not easy for everyone and radical change will be difficult to accept.
Be ready; it’s here!