Compensating college athletes has been at the center of discussion. This is because athletes desire to have something in their pocket every time they represent the side with pride. Makes sense, hence NIL has been brought to play. Guidelines set up by the NCAA would restrict players from receiving anything beyond scholarships. It would deny them securing profits for their athletic ability.
Come 2021, there was a change in the guidelines through NIL. This enabled athletes to explore options beyond scholarships. NCAA basically approved athletes to receive payments for name, image, and likeness, but not from the coach.
Has it worked so far? That will be seen pretty soon, but Jalen Hill believes that the time has changed. It was previously not about money; no one was talking about it. Now that NIL has been introduced, it has changed the way one looks at the game; however, NIL collectives can surely help players.
UNLV, or the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is a perfect example of how a university was able to secure a bug commitment via NIL. Hill became a part of the sports squad after considering the benefits that NIL was bringing to the table.
College athletes could earlier not sell their autographs, sign endorsement deals, or make an appearance for the fans. Effective June 2021, such boundaries have been moved away to allow players to mint money from anywhere possible. The only limitation is that the money cannot come directly from the school. They can be hired by businesses, or donors can fund them for their services. However, nothing can be promised to them by coaches.
UNLV is backed by Friends of UNIVL, a group of businesses in Las Vegas who are big fans of their game. They undertake the task of raising funds, especially to build NIL packages.
They run a total of nineteen colleges, including UNR, Arizona, and Gonzaga.
Bill Paulos, one of the donors to NIL, interacted with the media to share that all of them sat and talked about what could be the best usage of their funds. It was concluded that the best usage was to pay players, as the first question that one asks is about money. It was earlier about facilities, a question that has taken a back seat. So, players still talk about it but never prioritize that. Needless to say, this cannot be generalized since there are players who would still want to know about the facilities that they get as college athletes.
As of now, the Friends of UNILV collective has collected to pay its athletes in the range of $500,000 and $600,000 each for the last two years. This is a drop in the ocean, yet a start nonetheless. Caleb Williams, the USC Quarterback, is slated to receive $2.6 million. Puedue’s Zach Edey will reportedly take home $825,000 for senior season.
Simply put, the goal of NIL is not to sponsor extravagant lifestyles. It is to make sure that athletes are fairly compensated during its initial phase, following which there may be a decent increase in the future. Also, coaches could be given a free hand to deal directly with players.