If you work in the college and/or pro football space, or you would like to someday, you probably heard about the NCAA’s decision to allow players to profit off their names, images and likenesses. There’s still a lot to be decided about how it will work, and we’re a year-and-change away from it actually happening in college football, but it’s coming, and it’s a bombshell.
While many in the media and elsewhere have applauded the NCAA’s decision, we wanted to talk to people who work where the rubber meets the road. We asked several recruiting directors at NCAA schools, big and small, this question:
The NCAA has voted to allow players to profit off their names, images and likenesses. How do you see this affecting recruiting? Will the rich get richer as big schools with major followings dominate the skill positions? Will schools in less populous or rural settings (Illinois, Boise State, Texas Tech) struggle to attract major talent? Will it have a negligible effect on competitive balance as the best schools attract the best players and others make do with the rest? Or will have some other effect?
Here are some of their responses.
- “This could be a benefit for schools located in major cities. You can now sell the idea that a player’s product is being presented to a bigger market than other schools in less populated areas. More people = more money. QBs and skills players will most likely benefit from this rule. Looking at the NFLPA top 50 jersey sales, you see that majority of players are QBs, RBs and WRs. Not one OL is listed. It’ll be interesting to see how schools will create a plan to promote player brands for the players in the trenches to the skilled positions.”
- “A top WR in Texas that would once not think about leaving the state because they had Tech or Baylor dominating the passing game may now waiver because a school in Los Angeles has presented the possibility of commercial or billboard opportunities for them throughout their college career.”
- “This is really opening Pandora’s box. (Nike founder and Oregon mega-donor) Phil Knight and (business magnate and Oklahoma State mega-donor) T. Boone (Pickens) were the first two donors I thought of when this news came out. . . .”
- “I think it will make the gap (between big schools and small schools) bigger. It benefits the bigger schools who generate huge revenue like Ohio State, Michigan, Texas, (Texas) A&M, ‘Bama, etc. . . . I’m not sure people know the implications of what this will mean. It certainly changes things, and I’m sure there will be a lot that’s discussed in coming years about how to govern this. But certain schools will use this as a big selling tool in recruiting. . . I heard (former Ohio State head coach) Urban Meyer say on (the Big Ten Network) a few weeks ago say, what would he do if (ex-Buckeye running back) Zeke Elliot was making $600,000 his (sophomore) year at Ohio State? How’s he supposed to say, you gotta go to class? What kind of message would that send to his teammates?”
- “I question if your recruiting staff is now going to essentially need to have an agent on staff to set up promotional appearance and endorsements. . . I’m not sure how the rural vs. big city will affect recruiting and likeness as a whole though. I think it all depends on if there’s a cap on how much a kid can make and where they get the money from. The more interesting thing to me is, will you see the money from boosters that went to facilities, gear, travel, graphics, etc., now be redirected to the players? Will you lose out on staffing because the operating budget shrinks? I think this is going to be a major issue with group of five schools. the elite programs will not be affected as much.”
- “(One) interesting question will be how the pay will differ from starters and backups and walk-ons. I do ultimately think it will affect the landscape of recruiting if the higher-tier Power 5 schools are able to offer a lot larger monetary package to recruits compared to the more remote and lower-tiered schools. . . If the money that players receive is similar to the scholarships they already receive, and if you only see just extremely popular college athletes getting the endorsement deals, then I don’t think it will have an enormous impact on recruiting.”
Of course, the football business world is a big one, and there are other groups whom the new rule will affect. One of those groups is NFL agents. We spoke to several of them today to get their opinion on what happens next, and whether or not they see this as a net positive or net negative. You can read their responses in today’s Friday Wrap. You can register for it here.