Wednesday April 29, 2020. The day the NCAA came out from under a rock and made the decision (in principle) to allow student-athletes to receive compensation for their names, jerseys, social media posts. Plus an array of things related to ‘sponsorship’.
Millions upon millions of people tune in every Saturday during the football season to watch their alumni or favourite college team and for the march madness basketball tournament. As well as thousands of other student athlete events year round. The only people who currently make money from these enormous events are the schools, the NCAA and the TV companies (along with the multimillionaire coaches).
There are many aspects to this idea that will be tough. Is there a cap on income? Who tracks what the players make? Can it be used to recruit top prospects? What products are acceptable for young players to promote? The NCAA have a lot of questions to answer, but it is a step in the right direction.
It is clear the players and boosters from the likes of Alabama, LSU, and Ohio State will reap the rewards of this. I think the list of benefactors extends far beyond that, even for smaller D2 and D3 programs.
Of course the players, that’s a no brainer. They train like pros, get scrutinised like pros and now they’ll start getting endorsements like pros (or hopefully close to).
College players have been getting the rough end of the ‘student-athlete’ tag for too long. Colleges and boosters have been making millions off these kids names for years. It’s only right that they get to recoup some of that cash.
Even for those smaller programs, these kids deserve to be compensated for their work. Even if it’s free food at a restaurant, free fishing equipment from a local sports store or a free car when they endorse the company, they are owed something! The only issue I see is that these top end athletes will have the ability to make millions of dollars at an incredibly young age. The NCAA must take that into account and ensure that players are provided the correct financial advice. Because otherwise it could leave some players in a very bad situation.
Maybe it’s too late but it’s possible this could help them shake of the tag of ‘The big bad wolf’. Now they make millions of dollars but don’t allow student athletes to even set up a charity based ‘GoFundMe’ page (seriously, Trevor Lawrence had one shut down last month!!). Let alone use their fame to make money.
It’s a step in the right direction but they have to be careful. The decisions they make about how this works and the support they give student-athletes will be pivotal in whether this will be a success or a disaster.
The Colleges and the companies
As if players aren’t already passionate enough about their colleges, add in the ability for them to make money from their attachment to these programs and their name and it’s a win-win. Clemsons’ Trevor Lawrence endorsing Subway? Ohio States’ Justin Fields as the face of Dunkin’ Donuts?
They would be huge campaigns that would reach a massive audience and enhance the names of those colleges. That must have an impact on income figures for the colleges and skyrocket revenue, surely? It would also be a huge money spinner to the companies. Football fans are extremely loyal. Maybe Ohio State Starbucks drinkers would make the change to DD if their star QB was the face. I mean, how many Packers fans use State Farm insurance?
The NFL Could benefit from the NCAA doing this
Of course the NFL will benefit. They benefit from everything! Players entering the league who already have a huge following on social media, already have sponsorship deals and are nationally recognised even by potential non-football fans? It’s a huge win for them. The deals that could be made with powerhouse programs players is yet to be set out. But if national and multinational brands will be allowed to get involved, the reach is global and will give the NFL a huge existing base to run social media promotions of these players from.
The Local business
No matter what town you are in across America, large or small, with a college football program, it’s a huge deal. People flock to bars and restaurants all over the town to watch on Saturday’s year in year out, without fail. A billboard on the highway with the starting QB’s face on endorsing a restaurant would absolutely have a huge impact on business and it wouldn’t take a huge offer to get that done. Free food for any college student is an easy sell, right? Or a free car if they promote their local Chevvy dealership with a TV ad and a billboard? It’s a no brainer for both parties in any instance!
I cant wait to see how this shakes out and how the all parties will benefit from this. The only thing I know right now is that it’s a huge win for football at all levels!
This article was written by Jamie Edwards.