NIL and the Next Step?

A lot of fans are speculating/hoping that schools can use NIL to get around scholarship limits: Arrange enough NIL to cover the full cost of attendance and then some for certain players, take those players off scholarship and give those scholarships to someone else, in essence having 105 people on full ride. Possible/legal, or an uninformed pipe dream? To be fair I’ve seen it more in connection with basketball, but the principle is the same.

— Jeffrey

This is definitely possible, and I’ve spoken to several coaches worried about the possibility of losing scholarship players to walk-on NIL deals at wealthier schools.

But there is a number that the wealthier schools and any players who might take such a deal aren’t considering: 11.

That’s how many people can play at one time. I realize the occasional Matt Cassel has slipped into the NFL without playing much in college, but that’s the exception. The vast majority of NFL players started and played extensively in college. So giving up a scholarship and a starting or rotation spot at, say, a Group of 5 school to be a third- or fourth-team walk-on at a Power 5 school probably isn’t very smart if the goal is to play in the NFL. If the goal is to obtain a degree from that particular school and use its alumni network to further your career, then by all means take the walk-on deal.

But take it from someone who was a human tackling dummy on a national title team. If your goal is to play in college and possibly the NFL and you’re transferring in as a walk-on third-teamer, you’re probably making a huge mistake.

Some players may make that mistake. If they do, oh well. Hopefully, someone will take their scholarship slot at the other school and put it to good use. The only part that needs to be tweaked is ensuring those scholarship spots get filled. There may need to be a loosening of annual scholarship limits — while keeping the total limit at 85 — to ensure available scholarships go to deserving players.


This is a mess.


How does this make Clemson richer?
It ain’t apples to apples, CV!!!

For the curious, this is by Andy Staples in The Athletic. Subscribe, you won’t regret it. Current deal is one year for $12.

Thanks for posting CV.

What will be an interesting Master’s thesis in years to come is doing some kind of happiness survey and find the sweet spot for NIL. IMO, most kids getting an athletic scholarship are wise enough to value the education provided by their skills. The teams on which lots of kids get small NIL deals instead of a handful of players hoovering up all the available NIL money will be more cohesive, maybe even more successful. We will know in a few years.

Great post. Another aspect of NIL I hadn’t considered. With a wide open portal ( note to mods , I said portal NOT border) , it is going to get messy and rich programs should be loaded. They
should be at a performance level way above everyone else. I think we know what schools
are the para-professional football factories. Of course some will argue the elite already have this
advantage. But not to this degree imho.

This is what I wonder; Pancake Hunter gets an NIL deal with ‘Aunt Jemima’ for a few million. He becomes a starter next year, his sophomore year. Would in be realistic for CDH to go to him and say, “Pancake, you’ve got millions in the bank. How about you become a walk-on to free up a scholarship for the greater good of the team. You’ll still be our starter, we just need to free up schollies.”

Think any players would go along with that?

It’s Pearl Milling Company now, but great question. If I was the Pancake, I’m
not sure I’d give up something I’ve earned, especially since maybe the syrup company
goes belly up or pulls the NIL deal for financial or other reasons. The argument for the
better of the team is compelling, but the team sponsors are in the business of funding the team
and not the players.

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I said this was going to be a disaster two years ago. And it is. We should have been paying meaningful stipends to student athletes (sanctioned by the NCAA) beginning forty years ago…

Emmert and his predecessors did absolutely nothing, cashed their checks, and ran the bus off the cliff…no guardrails whatsoever…

Roughly 1,000,000 HS kids play FB. Of those, roughly 10,000 kids play CFB. Of those, roughly 200 make it to the pros…these were numbers thrown out by a Big12 analyst on ESPN U Radio last week….so that is .02%.

So we have wrecked the entire model to primarily benefit 200 prospects. This was the argument made by this analyst. Half the kids in the portal have NOT found a home. A giant portion of HS kids will now NOT receive a scholarship…this entire mess has so many unintended consequences that it is appalling.


Exactly. Emmett ran out the back of the outhouse and set it on fire to hide the stink. In the lexicon of sports management history he will sit on the Mt Olympus of the Emasculated.

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" Speaking of NIL offers, it’s believed that the reason former TCU defensive lineman Ochaun Mathis picked Nebraska over Texas, where he former coach Gary Patterson is now an assistant, is in large part because of a mid-six-figure deal offered by the Huskers.

Unfortunately, if you think this craziness is ending any time soon, it’s not.

“It’s the new norm,” said one Power Five assistant coach.

And that’s a shame for (most) everyone involved."

I was speaking with a college coach recently and he said that the walk on paid by NIL is already happening


Isnt BYU via NIL paying all their walk-ons costs ? Or something similar.

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This concerns a 5 start transfer


Interesting tweet from Anwar Richardson, who covers the cow college:

If we could really organize some alumni to coordinate big companies in town, I think we could really have something special.


Wouldnt he donate to UNT. I’m not sure we’d be unstoppable. But usually he does support Houston and would likely need a return to his investment. That’s why he makes all those big bets.

Jimbo had some interesting things about NIL & Portal today at the TD Club luncheon.

He said that not only are they (coaches) not allowed to do anything about NIL (nothing new) but the kids are all working through agents and doing things on a national scope. I suspect it’s similar at all the leading schools.

He said the NIL & Portal are bad for college football. He’s only has 2 portal kids.


I agree it all seems crazy and some controls would be good for all, including college sports. But the labor sees management making millions of dollars a year, and wants a piece. I’m absolutely convinced much of the NIL money will come at the expense of the more traditional donation channels, but technically it doesn’t harm anyone.


Maybe. I just assume that his NIL intentions would be to promote his business. Not that he doesn’t already do a good job of that though.

At what point are a player’s allegiance to the person that pays him, greater than the supposed interest the player has to the school which recruited him?

This problem doesn’t arise under the model proscribed by the NFL. Players in the League are hired to do a job and paid by the team owner. That’s not the case with the present “pay for play,” err, NIL set up. Technically, the school recruit is not being paid to do a job. He’s being paid by an outsider; a booster, who’s paying the kid to come to a particular school.

I don’t believe this is not a tenable situation in the long term. We’re already seeing the problem seep into college basketball. At some point, I believe boosters will lose interest, donations will decrease, and schools will lose a funding source.

Is this really the direction schools wish to go in? Short term gain at the cost of long-term damage.

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