NCAA Addressed NIL Compensation Before the United States Senate

College basketball is in full swing! The NCAA and college basketball fans are gearing up for the March Madness tournament.  In the weeks to come, fans will fill out brackets predicting which teams they believe will make it to the Final Four. The NCAA again stands to generate a billion dollars from the tournament, which is the organization’s biggest moneymaker of the year. Fans will relish in the excitement of Cinderella teams and major upsets. The NCAA will undoubtedly be raking in the money. However, the NCAA will also be spending money as it continues its work behind the scenes to preserve the amateur collegiate model. The farce of amateurism is being challenged at every turn. The challenge currently gaining the most traction is those from several state legislatures with name, image, and likeness (NIL) compensation bills. 

States with Proposed NIL Compensation Bills

Several state legislatures have proposed legislation seeking to give college athletes the ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) and to sign with agents. Last year, the state of California signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law. Since then,  several other states followed suit proposing similar legislation. While the Fair Pay to Play Act will not take effect until 2023, two similar bills in Florida may become effective much sooner. Florida currently has two college athlete name, image, and likeness bills before its state legislature. One is before the house and the other one is before its senate. State lawmakers are not the only ones seeking to expand college athlete rights. The federal lawmakers are too.

Specifically, Congressman Mark Walker introduced the Student-Athlete Equity Act seeking to give college athletes NIL rights. Senator Chris Murphy released a series of reports detailing the myriad of reasons reform is necessary for college sports. All of these critiques of the current collegiate sports model have put the NCAA in the hot seat. The organization has been backed into a corner where it has no choice but the address the elephant in the room. In fact, the NCAA was forced to address that elephant at a Senate hearing last week. 

Name, Image, and Likeness Informational Podcast

The NCAA is in NIL Compensation Crisis Mode

The college athlete NIL compensation issue has taken the NCAA by storm. The NCAA is in full crisis mode. They have realized that there is a strong possibility that several states could enact different laws to address NIL compensation. The NCAA does not want that to happen. As such, the NCAA has turned to the federal government for help. In fact, the organization has spent big money in an attempt to persuade federal lawmakers in their favor. The NCAA and two conferences spent at least $750,000 last year lobbying federal lawmakers to make reforms that favor the current collegiate model. The NCAA is sparing no expense to preserve amateurism.

Amateurism is the notion that college players simply play for the love game and are not paid. The NCAA purports that amateurism keeps collegiate sports distinct from professional sports. They further purport that if college athletes were paid, fans would lose interest. The NCAA maintains that its rules prohibiting payment help ensure that college athletes are not taken advantage of. As such, college athletes are not allowed to receive any type of payment outside of their cost-of-attendance scholarship or other NCAA approved benefits. However, many feel that the NCAA and the collegiate sports system as a whole are in fact taking advantage of the very athletes they claim to protect.

Why is College Athlete NIL Compensation on the Radar of so many Lawmakers?

College sports are a billion-dollar industry. Coaches, athletic directors, and conferences commissioners receive million-dollar salaries. Conferences receive billions of dollars from television broadcasting contracts. Top ranking NCAA officials receive million-dollar and upper six-figure salaries as well. Meanwhile, the athletes are limited to their scholarship. College athletes keep very strenuous and demanding schedules to perform their sport. Most spend at least 40 hours per week on athletically related activities. Despite their major time investment, they are not allowed to receive a bigger piece of the pie. A scholarship is valuable, however, the athletes deserve a bigger piece of the pie they generate for everyone else. It is for these reasons that lawmakers are working so hard to expand the rights of college athletes.

Last week, the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade and Consumer Protection held a hearing on the name, image, and likeness matter in Washington, D.C. NCAA president Mark Emmert attended the hearing where he was questioned on the NCAA’s handling of a number of issues. Most notably he was questioned and criticized the NCAA’s handling of James Wiseman’s case.

Wiseman was suspended for 11 games for money that his mother received from Penny Hardaway. Wiseman’s mother took the money for moving expenses while Wiseman was in high school. At the time, Wiseman knew nothing of the transaction between his mother and Hardaway. The NCAA also ordered Wiseman to pay the money back. Due to the NCAA’s decision, Wiseman decided to leave college and prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft on his own. The NCAA’s unfairly punished Wiseman for something he had nothing to do with. 

The Senate Subcommittee Urged to NCAA to Swiftly Find a Solution 

In light of the NCAA’s poor handling of Wiseman’s case and several others in the past, several Senators did not appear to be overly confident that the NCAA would not drag their feet on the NIL compensation issue.  Emmert stated that he would work with the schools and relevant decision-makers to make a decision as soon as possible. However, Emmert also stated that the NCAA may need Congress’ assistance in developing a uniform manner to address the NIL compensation issue.

The NCAA desperately wants to avoid having several states with different NIL compensation laws. The Senators at the hearing urged the NCAA to quickly offer a solution to this issue. In April, the NCAA is expected to make another announcement about their plans for NIL compensation. Hopefully, it will be something meaningful for the athletes. Given the NCAA’s general reluctance to give athletes a bigger price of the pie, it seems doubtful. 

NCAA Aims to Stop Graduate Transfers in College Football and Basketball

NCAA is trying to block Graduate transfers in college football and basketball

Millions tuned in to watch the Men’s March Madness Championship game. The University of Virginia (UVA) took on Texas Tech in a game that turned out to be a thrilling, seat clinching exhibition. College basketball fans witnessed UVA clinch its first NCAA Championship when they defeated Texas Tech in overtime. While it was a first for UVA, the game may have been the last for graduate transfers like Matt Mooney and Tariq Owens of Texas Tech as the NCAA aims to stop graduate transfers.

Mooney and Owens landed in the Final Four due to one of the NCAA’s rare rules that actually benefits college athletes. That rule is the graduate transfer rule. However, that rare benefit that the college athletes receive may be reduced drastically if the NCAA adopts a proposed change later this month.

College T-shirts at

The Graduate Transfer Rule

The current graduate transfer rule gives college athletes a certain level of autonomy. The graduate transfer rule allows college athletes who have completed their four-year degree and have remaining eligibility to transfer to another school and compete as a graduate transfer without having to sit out a year. The athlete must enroll in a graduate program. The current graduate transfer rule actually makes sense. An athlete who has remaining eligibility and has completed his undergraduate degree at one university should be free to use his remaining eligibility at the graduate school of his choice.

The rule allows college athletes to freely decide where to pursue their graduate education while providing the opportunity for them to continue playing the sport they love. Due to the freedom the rule provides college athletes to take control over their careers, it should come as no surprise that the rule is under fire.

Critics Issues With the Graduate Transfer Rule

Some feel that college athletes abuse the system. Critics argue that college athletes only use the rule as an opportunity to play in hopes of making it to the pros, rather than focusing on their graduate degree. Some liken the graduate transfer rule to the one-and-done rule because some graduate transfers leave after only playing one year. A study from 2012 found that only one-third of men’s basketball and one-quarter of football graduate transfers earn their graduate degree after two years. Due to this concern, a reform to the graduate transfer rule has been proposed.

The New Proposal

The proposal requests that colleges commit to providing two years of scholarship to each graduate transfer unless the athlete completes the degree in one year. In sum, the school must be willing to give up a scholarship the next year for each graduate transfer they take unless the graduate transfer finishes his degree in a year. This proposed rule change will only affect men’s and women’s basketball and football. That is right, this change will only affect the major revenue-producing sports.

If Adopted the Proposal Will Essentially do Away With Graduate Transfers

There are several issues with this proposal. One is that it is not practical to think that any graduate student will finish their program in one year. This is especially true in regards to college athletes, who are balancing the demands of their sport with academics. Another issue is that if this rule is adopted, graduate transfers will no longer be an attractive option to coaches. Most coaches will not want to forfeit a scholarship for the next season to get a graduate transfer or two. The benefits simply do not outweigh the cost. For this reason, the proposed change would drastically limit college athletes’ ability to seek opportunities as graduate transfers.

College T-shirts at

This proposal does not benefit college athletes at all. It takes away college athletes’ ability to pursue a graduate degree of their choosing while playing. Yes, an athlete could play as a graduate if he remains at his original school. However, that may still put the athlete at a disadvantage. What if the original university does not have the athlete’s desired graduate program? Now the athlete is unfairly forced to chose between their preferred graduate program and what is probably their last opportunity to play their sport on the big stage.

Another issue is that yet again, the rule unfairly affects the athletes who participate in the major revenue-producing sports. This very fact shows that the proposal has little to do with making sure athletes are getting their graduate degrees. This proposal is all about control. Proponents of the proposal want to control every move men’s basketball and football players make. There is nothing about this proposal that benefits the college athletes. It does the opposite by severely limiting men’s and women’s basketball players and football players options.

What Will the NCAA Do?

Will the NCAA keep the current system, which serves as a major benefit to many athletes? Or will the NCAA in typical fashion swoop in and severely limit the college athletes options? The NCAA will most likely do the latter. This is true especially given the fact that NCAA President Mark Emmert stated that he would not be surprised if the rule was revised.

Jeezy Joins Jay-Z and Lil’ Wayne in the World of Sports Agency


The worlds of hip-hop and sports are unavoidably intertwined. Many athletes want to be rappers. Many rappers want to be athletes. The cultural influence that hip-hop has on sports should come as no surprise. Many who aspire to be athletes often aspire to be musicians and vice versa. Drake highlighted this reality in his hit “Thank Me Now,” where he stated, “Damn, I swear sports and music are so synonymous/Cause we want to be them and they want to be us.” Perhaps this is because for many, becoming a rapper or a professional athlete appears to be the most viable career path to success and acquiring generational wealth.

For example, rapper 2 Chainz latest studio album was entitled Rap or Go to the League. The title of the album is the personification of those two options. NBA star LeBron James served as the album’s A and R.  There again highlighting the unavoidable relationship between hip-hop and sports. Thanks to athletes like Allen Iverson, the relationship between hip-hop and sports is ever apparent and growing stronger. Given the relationship, it should come as no surprise that hip-hop artists have begun to enter the business of sports. Specifically, hip-hop artists have begun to create sports agencies.

Hip-Hop Artists who Have Created Sports Agencies

In 2013, newly minted billionaire rapper Jay-Z started Roc Nations Sports. Rapper Lil’ Wayne followed in Jay-Z’s footsteps in 2014 when he started Young Money APAA Sports Agency. Now rapper Jeezy has become the latest rapper to announce his foray into athlete representation with his new sports agency, Sports 99. Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Jeezy all have one thing in common. That is they want to help athletes.

Jeezy stated he is starting Sports 99 because he wants to help “athletes accumulate real wealth and life skills needed to invest in their future.” In an interview, Lil Wayne stated that he started Young Money Sports because he realized that he could help the athletes “shine off the field.” Jay-Z too stated that he realized he could help athletes after having conversations with multiple athletes at his famed 40/40 club. Why do these artists believe that they are qualified to help athletes in their careers on and off the field? Are they, in fact, qualified to help athletes forge their careers on and off the field?

Are Rappers Qualified to Represent Athletes?

The answer to this question is yes. The answer is yes, for the very reason that is at the beginning of this article. That reason is the relationship between sports and hip-hop. The relationship is born out the fact that for many, sports and music are viewed as the most viable paths to success and generational wealth. Many artists and athletes have the same experiences and struggles. Many come from similar backgrounds where sports and music are very attractive paths to a better life. This common ground makes it easier for rappers like Jeezy to relate to similarly situated athletes. In Lil’ Wayne’s interview, he stated “We all cut from the same cloth…We all from the same place.” It is that commonality that makes rappers and hip-hop artists some of the best people to represent athletes’ interests.

In addition to sharing a common background, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Jeezy all possess the business acumen to help athletes be successful off the field. Jay-z has become a self-made billionaire through a series of investments and business decisions he made throughout his career. Lil’ Wayne used his business savvy to acquire a net worth of approximately $150 million. Jeezy used his business acumen to garner a Fitness Water deal and to gain an advisory role with the Avión tequila brand. It is very clear why an athlete would sign up to work with these very successful businessmen who are cut from the same cloth. Hip-hop’s foray into sports representation only makes sense and will likely continue to grow.

Madness Inc Report: Don’t Criticize Players Who Sit Out Bowl Games

College Players sitting out Bowl Games

As the college football post-season begins, the list of players opting out of post-season play continues to grow. This is not a new phenomenon. In fact, it appears to be a growing trend. Several players have already announced their intentions to sit out of bowl games. A couple of those players include Brandon Wimbush from Notre Dame and Kamal Martin from Minnesota. More and more players are unwilling to risk injury to participate in bowl games. Many fans heavily criticize players who opt-out. 

For instance, West Virginia University starting quarterback, Will Grier, faced heavy criticism last year when he opted out of the Camping World Bowl. What many fans refuse to acknowledge is that football players are not obligated to play in bowl games. Players opt-out to avoid the risk of injury and to focus on preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft. Fans argue that players who opt out are quitting on their teams and leaving an obligation unfulfilled.

Will Grier Bowl Games Sitting West Virginia

However, nothing could be further from the truth. Players opt-out of the bowl games to protect themselves and their professional earning potential. The findings in the United States Senator Chris Murphy’s report highlights this very point. It demonstrates how susceptible football players are to career injuries. The report also shows the lack of support many athletes receive after suffering an injury. After reading Senator Murphy’s latest report on college athletics, fans will see why many players decide bowls games are not worth the risk. Fans will hopefully think twice before judging a player’s decision to sit out of a bowl game. 

Senator Chris Murphy’s Madness, Inc. Reports

Senator Chris Murphy recently published his last installment of the Madness, Inc. Report. The report is a three-part series where Senator Murphy highlights the unjust and exploitative nature of college athletics. The first report came after fans witnessed Zion Williamson suffer an injury when his Nike shoe malfunctioned. The report is entitled Madness, Inc. How Everyone is Getting Rich off College Sports – Except the Players. It exposes just that, the fact that everyone gets rich in college athletics except the athletes. Coaches, conferences, and schools make millions. The NCAA is a billion-dollar non-profit organization. Meanwhile, the athletes are restricted to a cost-of-attendance scholarship.

The second report is entitled Madness, Inc. How Colleges Keep Athletes on the Field and Out of the Classroom. It revealed the excessive time demands that an athlete’s sport places on him. It highlights how difficult it is for an athlete to give adequate time to the sport and to their coursework. Due to the time constraints, many athletes select a less demanding major even if it is not their truly desired subject. The final report lays out all of the reasons many football players decide to not compete in bowl games. It is entitled Madness, Inc. How College Sports Can Leave Athletes Broken and Abandoned. The report explains how many athletes are left with broken bodies and no viable recourse.

College Players: Career-Ending Injuries and No Degree

Per the report, every year there are over 20,000 injuries in college football alone. Of those injuries, approximately 1,000 of them are spinal injuries. These injuries often lead to a lifetime of grief for the athlete. Some injuries are career-ending. Unfortunately, that was the case for Stanley Doughty. Per the report, Doughty played football for the University of South Carolina. After giving his talent and his body away for essentially free, he landed a contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. However Doughty was never able to play a single down for the Chiefs due to a cervical spine injury he sustained as a college football player. 

Doughty was forced to play through his pain. The school never ordered an MRI to make sure Doughty was ok. Due to a neglected injury, Doughty was never able to earn his worth for his talents as a professional football player. To make matters worse, the University would not pay for him to re-enroll in school to finish his degree. Doughty was left with no NFL future, no degree, jobless, and injured. It is these types of situations that lead players to sit out of bowl games. Due to stories like Doughty’s and the risk of injury, players are unwilling to have their potential NFL futures taken away in what amounts to an exhibition game. 

Loyalty is a Two Way Street

Some fans argue that a player who opts out of a bowl game lacks loyalty. Why should a player be loyal to a system that is not loyal to him? Neither the schools nor the NCAA is loyal to the players, especially when it comes to matters of athlete safety. Each entity tries to pass the responsibility of player safety on to the other. Per the report, only 1 page out of the NCAA’s Division I 400-page manual is devoted health care for athletes. The NCAA requires athletes to have insurance in order to compete. However, the NCAA does not require schools to cover health care costs to field a team. The NCAA leaves those decisions regarding health care to the schools. 

The NCAA has a history of doing all it can to limit its liability to injured athletes. The term “student-athlete” was coined to do just that. In the1950s, the NCAA created the term to avoid workmen’s compensation liability for the death of a football player who died from a head injury. The NCAA establishes guidelines for schools to follow regarding athlete safety. However, the organization does very little to enforce those guidelines. For example, in 2016, the NCAA along with sports medicine leaders established rules to limit the influence coaches have in the employment of sports medicine personnel. However, the NCAA asserts little authority to ensure these rules are being enforced. Per the report, the NCAA has yet to create an enforcement and penalty process for such rule violations.

The NCAA’s Handling of Concussions

Furthermore, the NCAA dropped the ball in regards to the long-term effects that concussions have on college athletes. While the NCAA has made recommendations to its members regarding concussion management, the NCAA has done little to enforce it. For example, as early 1933 the NCAA made recommendations to its members regarding concussion protocol. Specifically, the NCAA recommended that athletes who suffered a concussion be removed for a significant amount of time. Over the years has made similar recommendations including in 2009. However, the NCAA has done nothing to ensure that its recommendations are followed by its members. 

The NCAA and its members’ hands-off approach regarding athlete safety led to the death of Derek Sheely. Sheely was a football player at Frostburg State University. He died from a brain injury he suffered during practice. Coaches told his parents he died from a freak accident. His parents only learned the truth when one of his teammates told them. From this story and other findings highlighted from the report, it is clear that the NCAA and some of its members are not loyal to its athletes. Why do fans expect football players to be “loyal” and risk injury in a bowl game?

After Reading Senator Murphy’s Madness, Inc. Report Fans Should be More Understanding Regarding Football Players Opting Out of Bowl Games

After reading this report, no fan should have an issue with a player opting out of a bowl game. The findings in this report clearly highlight the players’ cause for concern. It is true that a player runs as the risk of injury in any game as the risk of injury is inherent in sports. However, to risk injury in a game that only results in bragging rights and an essentially worthless gift is not in the best interest of the athlete. Especially for a player with high draft potential.  This is especially true in a system that appears to leave its injured athletes out to dry as gleaned from the report. Fans should think twice before unfairly criticizing football players who chose to put their best interest first and not risk injury in a bowl game.

College Football Bowl Game Participants​ Should get More Than a $550 Bowl Gift

College Football Bowl Game Gifts

It is that time of year again. College football playoff and bowl game season! The College Football Playoff (CFP) matchups are set. Bowl game matchups are set. There is a lot at stake during the college football post-season. Bragging rights for winning a bowl game, being crowned the CFP champion, and last but not least – MONEY. There are millions of dollars at stake for coaches, conferences, and schools. However, there is one group that is systematically left out of the financial distributions. That group is none other than the football players themselves. 

It is true that the NCAA permits bowl game participants to receive up to $550 in gifts. However, those gifts severely pails in comparison to the rewards that coaches, schools, and conferences receive. Right out the gate, the conferences of the schools that qualify for the College Football Playoff semifinal games receive 6 million dollars for each team. Conferences that do not have a CFP contender still have a chance to rake in 4 million dollars for each team that qualifies for a bowl game. However, this revenue barely scratches the surface of all of the money that is at stake. Let’s take a look at how much the coaches, schools, and conferences stand to earn during the college football post-season.

The CFP and Bowl Games are a Cash Cow for the Participating Coaches

Dabo Swinney $93M contract There's enough money to pay the players

Several college football coaches enjoy million-dollar salaries. CFP champion coach, Dabo Swinney, signed a 9.3 million per year contract for his base salary  Many more coaches enjoy salaries in the upper six figures. However, the college football post-season is the sweetest time of year for qualifying coaches. It is sweet because qualifying for post-season play demonstrates that the coach has led the team through a very successful season. It is also sweet because qualifying for post-season play equals sizeable bonus money for the coaches.

Coach Mack Brown at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Take the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill coach, Mack Brown, for instance. He will receive $75,000 for the Tar-heels qualifying for the Military Bowl. This $75,000 is additional compensation on top of the $3.5 million he earns as an annual salary. Brown is not the only person on his staff who will be a bonus beneficiary. The Tar-heels assistant coaches will receive bonuses up to “two-twelfths of their annualized salaries”. Meanwhile, the football players will receive a compilation of arguably useless gifts up to $550 in value

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Coach Ryan Day at Ohio State University

Another coach who stands to make more in bonus money than most people make in a year is Ohio State’s Ryan Day. Day replaced Ohio State coaching legend, Urban Meyer, and quickly realized that he needed to make a name for himself. Make a name for himself is just what he did in leading the Buckeyes to the CFP for the first time since 2016. Day stands to earn an additional $450,000 in CFP bonuses. Per Day’s contract, he will earn $200,000 just for the Buckeyes making an appearance in the CFP. Day stands to make another $250,000 if the Buckeyes make it to the CFP semifinals.

However, Ohio State and Clemson are set to face off in the Fiesta Bowl. If the Buckeyes are successful in that game, Day will not receive $250,000 if the Buckeyes make it to the CFP semifinals. Instead, Day will receive $350,000 for “team participation in the finals of the College Football Playoff.” These are only the bonuses that two coaches stand to receive for post-season play. Every other qualifying coach stands to receive similar compensation. Meanwhile, the football players are left with arguably useless gifts totaling up to $550 in value.

Conferences and Schools Rake in the Cash from the CFP and Bowl Games too

Justin Fields Ohio State

Merely having a school qualify for the CFP semifinals or a bowl game earns a conference at least 6 to 4 million dollars respectively. There is so much money available to the conferences and schools from post-season play. Each conference with a school that qualifies for post-season play receives $300,000. Each qualifying independent school receives $300,000 as well. An independent school is one that does not belong to a conference like Notre Dame.

Additionally, each of the ten conferences receives a base amount of money. Conferences who participate in the Orange, Rose, and Sugar Bowl receive approximately $66 million for each conference. Conferences that do not participate in those bowls receive approximately $90 million in the aggregate that is dispersed as the conferences see fit. If Notre Dame qualifies, it receives $3.19 million as an independent school. The other three independent schools receive $1.56 million.

Furthermore, each conference with a school participating in the Cotton, Fiesta, or Peach Bowl or the CFP National Championship receives an additional $2.43 million to cover game expenses. This is a lot of money. Meanwhile, the football players receive arguably useless gifts totaling up to $550 in value. The schools do use some of the money to fund their athletic departments to make collegiate sports participation possible. However, there is still enough money that football players can receive more than $550 worth of gifts.

The Bowl Gifts Are a Joke in Comparison to the Coaching Bonuses and Revenue the Conferences and Schools Receive

Football players who participate in bowl games and the CFP are allowed to receive $550 worth of gifts. In the scheme of things, the gifts are arguably worthless and pails in comparison to the six-figure bonuses their coaches receive. Participants in the Peach Bowl will receive a $390 Vanilla Visa Gift Card, a Fossil watch, and a football. While a $390 gift card sounds nice, it is nothing for all of the hard work and effort players put into their sport. It is certainly nothing compared to the bonuses the coaches receive.

Participants in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl receive a PlayStation 4 Gift Package, a Fossil watch, an Ogio Shuttle Pack backpack, a history of bowl games book, and an Ice Shaker Insulated bottle. A PlayStation 4 is a nice gift. However, is it really that useful for a college football player who puts in 40 plus hours a week on football and has to study too? It would seem that sharing the revenue with the players would be a better option. However, that is not going to happen because of the NCAA’s farce of amateurism.

College Football Bowl Game Gifts

What if the NCAA, Conferences, and Schools Decided to Share the Revenue With the Players?

If the revenue was shared with the players it would provide a major financial boost for the players. This is especially true for players who come from disadvantaged situations. Such players often need extra money to make ends meet. Players who may need extra cash cannot even sell their gifts without fear of being declared ineligible for receiving an impermissible benefit like Terrelle Pryor. In 2010, Pryor was suspended for selling his sportsmanship award from the 2008 Fiesta Bowl. If the NCAA, conferences, and schools decided to share some of the revenue they could eliminate this problem for their athletes.

The NCAA could hold the money in a trust for the football players to receive after they graduate. They could provide financial planning seminars to help them manage the money and use it in a productive manner. This would help the players way more than a fossil watch ever could. With all of the money floating around college football post-season play, the players should receive more than a $550 gift.

James Wiseman Decision and the NIL Compensation Timeline Proves NCAA is not Rushing to Change

NCAA Name Image Likeness James Wiseman

The NCAA has done it again! The billion-dollar non-profit organization demonstrated twice last week that it’s primary objective is protecting the sham of amateurism. First, the NCAA proved that it will be dedicated to protecting their self proclaimed noble objective even when it makes no sense and hurts it’s beloved “student-athletes”. The NCAA’s ruling in the James Wiseman case does exactly that. It makes no sense and is harmful to James Wiseman. Secondly, the NCAA demonstrated that they have no intention of allowing college athletes to “benefit” from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) anytime soon when they released their NIL compensation timeline. In their announcement, the NCAA reaffirmed that any college athlete NIL compensation will be consistent with the current “collegiate model.”

The James Wiseman Ruling

Chase Young James Wiseman

The NCAA ruled that potential number one NBA draft pick, James Wiseman, will serve a 12 game suspension and donate $11,500 to charity for a transaction that transpired between Wiseman’s mother and Penny Hardaway. When Wiseman was in high school Penny Hardaway gave his mother $11,500 for moving expenses. At the time, Wiseman was unaware of the transaction between Hardaway and his mother. Hardaway was not Wiseman’s coach although he later became Wiseman’s high school and college coach. Even though Wiseman did not have anything to do with the moving expenses Hardaway gave to his mother, the NCAA decided that he should be punished anyway. How does this make sense?

The answer is that it does not make common sense, it only makes NCAA sense. Per the NCAA’s rules, it is reasonable for Wiseman to serve a 12 game suspension for something he did not do. It is reasonable to require a “student-athlete” to pay what amounts to an $11,500 fine to a charity for an “impermissible benefit”. This is reasonable from an NCAA perspective because no college athlete is allowed to receive any benefit that is not NCAA approved. From a common-sense perspective, this punishment is completely irrational. A rational person would wonder why is Wiseman being punished? He did not do anything wrong. A rational person would also ask where is a “student-athlete” supposed to get that kind of money?

How Can James Wiseman get the Money Without Violating the NCAA’s Rules?

Wiseman’s sport does not allow him enough time to work to earn that kind of money. Perhaps, his family or a close friend could loan it to him. No, that will not work because that is not permissible, just ask Chase Young. Perhaps, random people could donate the money to Wiseman through GoFundMe like ESPN analyst Jay Williams called for people to do.

This seems like a plausible way for Wiseman to get the money. People who feel that Wiseman has been wronged could offer a helping hand. There is only one problem with this approach. Wiseman would not be able to accept the money because accepting the money would likely result in another NCAA violation. Really, what is Wiseman to do to pay this excessive fine that the NCAA has placed on him all in the name “amateurism”?

The NCAA’s NIL Compensation Timeline is a Stalling Tactic​

In addition to the James Wiseman decision, the NCAA showed its resistance to change when it released it’s NIL timeline. When the NCAA released its very lengthy NIL compensation timeline it became clear that the NCAA is stalling. Per the timeline, the NCAA will not vote on the issue until January 2021. This should come as no surprise. Afterall the NCAA is only addressing the issue after being forced to.

NCAA Name Image Likeness NIL Pay college athletes

The NCAA was Forced to Address NIL Compensation

The NCAA formed a working group to address issues surrounding college athlete name, image, and likeness (NIL) compensation. They were forced to address the issue under pressure from several state legislatures that introduced bills seeking to allow college athlete NIL compensation. The NCAA also faced pressure from Congress as Congressman Mark Walker introduced the Student-Athlete Equity Act. In October, California became the first state to allow college athlete NIL compensation when Governor Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law. In October, the NCAA released the findings of the NIL working group. However, the NCAA is not going down without a fight.

When the working group’s findings were released, it became clear that the NCAA is still trying to retain as much power as possible. It has also become clear that the NCAA is going to give college athletes as little rights as possible. The NCAA is dedicated to retaining the current “collegiate model”. The findings did not provide much clarity on the NCAA’s stance on the issue. In fact, it only led to more questions. It seemed like a stalling tactic to slow the momentum of the progress of the NIL compensation movement. The timeline proves that it is a stalling tactic. However, their tactics are not working as Florida is considering legislation that could allow college athletes to profit from their NIL as early as July 2020.

Wiseman’s Decision and the NCAA’s NIL Compensation Timeline Demonstrates that the NCAA will not Change

The NCAA’s decision in Wiseman’s case and the NIL compensation timeline proves that the NCAA is not genuine in making meaningful changes in college sports. The NCAA is only willing to take half measures. The NCAA only wants to give the appearance of change. Their primary concern is retaining control of their billion-dollar cash cow. The NCAA remains dedicated to their cause, even when it is so clearly wrong. Their decision in the James Wiseman case is clearly wrong. The NCAA’s primary motive is showing that they are still in control and dedicated to preserving amateurism at all cost. Once again, the NCAA has proven that some sort of legislation is necessary to push the college athletes’ rights movement forward.

Chase Young, James Wiseman NCAA Inconsistent Rule Enforcement

Chase Young James Wiseman

If anyone is still wondering why lawmakers are so interested in college athletes’ rights, they got their answer last weekend. The NCAA once again demonstrated how unfair their rules are and how they are inconsistently enforced when they declared college football’s and men’s basketball top players ineligible. Ohio State University’s (OSU) defensive end and Heisman Trophy contender, Chase Young, was declared ineligible just ahead of OSU’s game against Maryland. Similarly, the University of Memphis (Memphis) men’s basketball center, James Wiseman, was declared ineligible prior to their game against Illinois-Chicago.  

A reasonable fan may wonder why the NCAA would declare their top performers in their major revenue-producing sports ineligible? Did they get caught cheating on a test? Did they engage in illegal activity? Most would agree that if the answer to those questions is yes, the players deserve their punishment. However, that is not the case for Young nor Wiseman. Neither of them did anything clearly wrong. They were both declared ineligible for receiving financial assistance. Why would the NCAA  declare a “student-athlete” ineligible for receiving needed financial assistance?

The answer is simple. The NCAA’s primary motive is to protect the farce of amateurism. For the NCAA, that means making sure athletes are not given any benefit that is not NCAA approved. No matter how dire an athletes’ need is. Chase Young’s and James Wiseman’s cases are textbook examples of the NCAA’s commitment to their rules; even when it defies all logic.

Chase Young’s Case 

Young was suspended for accepting a loan from a family friend. He reportedly accepted the loan to pay for his girlfriend’s trip to watch him play in the Rose Bowl last season.  That is right, Young was declared ineligible for getting a loan from a family friend so that someone he cares for could be there to support him. Here is the real kicker: Young repaid the loan in April. The person who gave Young the loan is not a booster nor an agent.

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Despite those facts, the NCAA still suspended him. The NCAA felt it right to disrupted Young’s potentially Heisman Trophy-winning and record-breaking season to reaffirm their position on unapproved financial assistance. All Chase Young wanted was for his girlfriend to be there to support him while he gave his body to make millions of dollars for others. Young will serve a two-game suspension for taking a loan from a family friend and paying it back. Somehow, the NCAA believes that this is fair and is the right thing to do. It is precisely these type of decisions by the NCAA that makes lawmakers feel the need to get involved.

james wiseman

James Wiseman’s Case

James Wiseman’s eligibility issue stems from a rather complicated story. Here is the crux of his eligibility issue. Wiseman’s eligibility is in jeopardy due to an $11,500 payment that the current Memphis coach, Penny Hardaway, gave to Wiseman’s mother in 2017. At the time, Wiseman did not know about money. The money was intended to cover moving expenses when Wiseman’s family moved to Memphis.

However, this is not why the NCAA declared Wiseman ineligible. The NCAA declared him ineligible because they determined that Penny Hardaway was a booster due to a 1 million dollar donation he made to Memphis in 2008. The donation was made to fund the school’s Penny Hardaway Hall of Fame. Since the NCAA determined that Hardaway was a booster, the $11,500 that he gave to Wiseman’s mom is impermissible under NCAA rules.

According to NCAA rules, this would make Wiseman ineligible. However, the problem here is that the NCAA knew about the $11,500 payment. With that knowledge, the NCAA declared Wiseman eligible. For some reason, the NCAA has gone back on that decision and declared him ineligible. How is this fair? The answer is that it is not fair. James Wiseman’s case reaffirms how inconsistent the NCAA is in its rule enforcement. It is for this reason, that lawmakers have begun advocating for college athlete rights.

Wiseman’s Case is not Over Yet as he has Sued the NCAA

Wiseman has sued the NCAA and Memphis. He also obtained a temporary injunction on his suspension that has allowed him to continue to play. On Monday, the case will resume where Wiseman will as for an injunction to continue playing. If Wiseman is successful in this suit it could dire ramifications for the NCAA and their ability to enforce their eligibility rules.

The NCAA Continues to Prove that Legislative Action is Necessary

What point does the NCAA really think it is making by declaring Young and Wiseman ineligible? All the NCAA has done is further make themselves bad an unable to consistently enforce their rules. They have inadvertently strengthened the case for college athlete name, image, and likeness (NIL) compensation legislation. After all if Young had able to profit from his NIL he may not have needed the loan. As coaches’ salaries and television revenue continues to soar,  the NCAA cannot continue to justify its actions in cases like Young’s and Wiseman’s. The NCAA’s unfairness and inconsistency in its rule enforcement are precisely why lawmakers have gotten involved. Their involvement appears to be necessary.

Pressure is on for the NCAA Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) Working Group

NCAA Name Image Likeness NIL Pay college athletes

California Governor Gavin Newsom created a firestorm when he signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law. Starting in 2023, college athletes in California will be able to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). They will also be able to sign with agents. After the act became law, several states announced plans to enact similar legislation. Among those states, was the state of Flordia. Two lawmakers in Florida proposed bills seeking to give college athletes including NCAA players the ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Last week, Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, endorsed the proposed legislation. This is a major development regarding college athlete rights. It could mean that if either of the proposed bills makes it to DeSantis’ desk, he will likely sign it into law. Therefore, Florida could become the next state to allow college athletes to profit from their NIL.

However, the NCAA still has a chance to get out ahead of this NIL compensation issue. The NCAA could amend its rules to allow college athletes to profit from their NIL. The NCAA already has a working group set to address the issue soon. What would happen if the NCAA did just that and allowed college athletes to profit from their NIL? Would that make the Fair Pay to Play Act a non-issue? Would the federal government still enact a law addressing the issue? Before these questions can be answered, it is important to understand why so many state and federal lawmakers have come out in support of college athletes’ rights.

The Reason So Many Legislators are Interested in College Athletes’ Rights

The short answer is because it is the right thing to do. College sports are a billion-dollar industry. It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the blatant inequities in college sports. The benefits that college athletes receive pales in comparison to the benefits that their labor bestows upon others. For example, It was recently reported that several high profile college coaches have access to private jets for personal use. Access to such amenities are apart of their contracts.

As if it was not enough for some coaches to make severely more money than the governor of the state in which they coach, they have to have access to private jets too.

It is things like this that make it extremely hard to argue that college athletes should not be allowed to have a bigger piece of the college sports pie. Governor DeSantis realized this fact when he was attending a football game. His reason for endorsing the proposed legislation stems from him realizing that members of the marching band can make money promoting music on their YouTube channel. However, the football players who perform in the same field do not have a similar ability to profit from their talents. It is this inherent inequity and unfairness between the rights and abilities of college athletes versus those of other students that have sparked the interest of so many lawmakers.

What Happens if the NCAA Amends its Rules to Allow NIL Compensation?

While state and federal lawmakers are busy drafting college athletes’ rights legislation, the NCAA’s working group plans to address the issue. The working group is expected to announce its findings and recommendations very soon. The pressure is certainly on for the NCAA. Everyone is waiting to see if the NCAA will make recommendations that actually benefit college athletes. If the NCAA does amend its rules to allow college athletes to profit from their NIL, what will that mean for the Fair Pay to Play Act and other proposed legislation?

A World Where the NCAA Allows College Athletes to Profit From Their NIL

If the NCAA amends its rules in a meaningful way to allow NIL compensation, there is a chance that the NCAA could make the need for legislation go away. The Fair Pay to Play Act is not set to go into effect until 2023. Accordingly, the NCAA has time to remedy this situation themselves. However, in order to accomplish that the NCAA has to be willing to make meaningful change and allow college athletes to profit from their NIL and sign with agents with essentially no strings attached. The NCAA should not try to “tether” the endorsements to education or subject them to any other stipulation. The NCAA should do the right thing and allow college athletes to profit from their NIL like the Fair Pay to Play Act other proposed legislation intends to do.

If the NCAA does that there will not be a need for legislation and it will make the Fair Pay to Play Act obsolete. However, the NCAA’s track record paints a pretty bleak picture that they will do that. Furthermore, the stance that members of the working group have taken on the issue does not lead one to believe that meaningful change will be coming from the working group. Based on this, it is likely that some form of legislation will be necessary. However, the true outcome of the NIL compensation working group remains to be seen.

Like Dominos, States are Falling into the College Athlete NIL Movement

compensate College Athletes

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom set a trend when he signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law on LeBron James’ hit show The Shop. The new law will take effect in 2023. The Fair Pay to Play Act will give college athletes in California the ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Specifically, college athletes will be allowed to garner endorsement deals and otherwise monetize their NIL without losing eligibility. The law also allows college athletes to sign with agents. The Fair Pay to Play Act is proving to be a trendsetter. Several states have announced plans to join the college athlete NIL movement.

Prior to the Fair Pay to Play Act being signed into law, a few other states had plans to introduce similar legislation to comp. Since the Fair Pay to Play Act became law states in almost every region of the country have announced plans to create similar legislation. The NCAA’s threats to ban California colleges from post-season play has been no match for legislators who are determined to do what is right for college athletes. These legislators are determined to create a more equitable college athletics system.

Currently, college athletes propel a billion-dollar college sports industry and are limited to a cost-of-attendance scholarship for their efforts. Meanwhile, coaches’ salaries continue to grow and the non-profit NCAA generates a billion-dollars per year. Several state and federal lawmakers are determined to give college athletes a bigger piece of the pie. Let’s take a look at the states that have joined the college athlete NIL movement since the passage of the Fair Pay to Play Act.

States With Plans to Introduce College Athlete NIL Legislation

In the midwest, Illinois and Minnesota state lawmakers have announced plans to introduce a college athlete NIL bills. Pennsylvania and Maryland are both considering introducing legislation similar to the Fair Pay to Play Act. Several lawmakers in Nevada have stated that they would consider introducing similar legislation. A lawmaker in Kentucky is reportedly drafting a bill addressing college athlete compensation. Perhaps the most notable state to join the college athlete NIL movement is the state of Florida.

Two Florida lawmakers have already filed bills. On October 4, Chip LaMarca filed HB 287. This bill seeks to allow college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness. If signed into law, it will become effective on July 1, 2020. Prior to HB 287, Florida representative Kionee McGhee filed HB 251. That bill is also set to become effective on July 1, 2020. HB 251seeks to allow college athletes to receive “specified compensation.” The bill will also create a Florida College System Athlete Name, Image, and Likeness Task Force. With these two bills, Florida is bound to give college athletes the ability to profit from their NIL.

Download the Podcast Detailing CA and the Other States Legislation

The College Athlete NIL Movement has a Potential Newcomer on the Federal Level

The current collegiate model is not only being challenged on the state level. The collegiate model is being challenged at the federal level as well. Earlier this year, U.S. Congressman Mark Walker introduced the Student-Athlete Equity Act. The NCAA is exempt from federal taxation as an organization that organizes amateur sports and national championships. The Student-Athlete Equity Act seeks to remove that exemption if the NCAA continues to enforce rules that prohibit college athletes from profiting from their NIL. In addition to this fight at the federal level, the NCAA is about to face another one.

A U.S. Congressman from Ohio is planning to introduce a federal bill similar to the Fair Pay to Play Act. Representative Anthony Gonzalez, a former Ohio State wide receiver, plans to introduce a federal bill that will allow college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness. Gonzalez would like to see NIL compensation become a reality before 2020. However, he may wait until the NCAA’s NIL working group releases its’ findings before introducing legislation.

Paying College Athletes has Bipartisan Support

As more state and federal lawmakers announce plans to introduce college athlete legislation, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the issue has bipartisan support. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been vocal in support of the legislation. Perhaps this is because they all can see the blatant inequities in the current collegiate sports system. In a capitalist society, no one can reasonably support the notion that college athletes should be prohibited from profiting from their NIL. The bipartisan support will continue to grow. The NCAA will be forced to enact a meaningful change on the issue or sit back and watch lawmakers do it for them.

Sports Illustrated layoffs highlight the sensationalism of sports journalism

Last week, in a gut-wrenching but unfortunately unsurprising move, TheMaven’s takeover of Sports Illustrated resulted in layoffs for nearly half of the iconic magazine’s staff members.

The process to let go of so many staff members was callous and ill-managed, as the staff originally asked staffers to report to one of two meetings – presumably separating the people staying and leaving – before deciding to cancel them 10 minutes beforehand.

Regardless of how it went down, it’s clear this move is another step away from the investigative, high-quality journalism that so long dominated the sports industry, and is another step toward what is not-so-affectionately being called “content farms”.

What’s a content farm?

Basically, content farms are sites like FanSided, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation, sites that hire underpaid staffers to man team-specific sites that produce rapid amounts of content about each individual team (Addicted to Quack is the Oregon Ducks SB Nation site, for example).

These sites aren’t inherently bad themselves necessarily, although the amount of work required by site managers (or experts at Fansided) generally does not equal the amount of pay provided.

The issue is that so many organizations, including USA TODAY and now Sports Illustrated, are going this route as opposed to investing in actual storytellers and investigative reporters, leaving the industry thin on that kind of content.

Having a few sites that just produce short news stories and quick analysis to reach a more general fan base is fine, as long as there are sites that do long-form journalism, finding stories that these – often college-aged – site managers who make at best $400 per month don’t have the time or expertise to find themselves.

When companies like Sports Illustrated resort to the same tactic, what readers will get is 6-7 sites all producing 8-10 articles per day, none over 200 words, with tons of videos and links and ads and very little actual substance to them.

Gone will be the days of 1,500 word articles about players past, their relationship with their coach, or their parents, or their siblings, replaced by fluff anyone can find on any number of different sites.

Deadspin reported on what TheMaven COO said in his presentation on the company’s plan:

“So our vision, and this is where you come in, is that entrepreneurs run these team-specific sites. People who are all Hawkeyes all the time or all Jets all the time. And are covering their team on an intense basis, and equally important are fostering an intense community of fans who come back to the site everyday.”

Quality journalists, journalists who spent hours, maybe days, crafting the perfect story – talking to multiple sources, sending follow-ups, digging deeper – they lost their jobs for Sports Illustrated to do this.

And, unfortunately, this may just be the beginning of the end for quality, long-form sports journalism as we know it.