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J. Thomas McNamara

            As Alabama’s Nick Saban and Ohio State’s Ryan Day point out there are problems with the new Name Image and Likeness legislation that was passed to help financially student-athletes.
           As it stands now Name Image and Likeness is not good for either the colleges and universities or the student-athletes it was supposed to help.
            While student-athletes will be able to receive compensation for those wishing to use their NIL, there are concerns about how the more successful men’s basketball and football teams have a broader base for athletes to benefit.
           Alabama’s legendary football head coach coach, Saban, illustrated perfectly how the winners will benefit greatly from their successes as evidenced by the million dollars in endorsements his sophomore quarterback, Bryce Young, is earning and he hasn’t played a down yet of college football.
            “Certain positions, probably, enhance opportunities to create value, like quarterback, and our quarterback (Young) already has approached ungodly numbers — I’m not going to say what they are — and he hasn’t even played yet. Hasn’t even started,” Saban recently said at the Texas High School Coaches Association’s annual convention, according to The Athletic. “… It’s almost seven figures. And it’s like, the guy hasn’t even played yet. But that’s because of our brand.”
            Reread that last sentence again where Saban talks about Alabama’s brand that draws more money from outside than other colleges and universities that aren’t playing in the national championship game every February.
             Student-athletes at Illinois will not earn what those from Alabama will.
             Winning begets huge dollars.
             Back to Young, who is the Crimson Tide’s sophomore quarterback who hasn’t played a down yet for Alabama and he’s already earning seven figures from NIL.
             Young signed with CAA, one of the most powerful agencies representing NFL players, for his marketing deals.  As of July 1, college athletes in Alabama and several other states have been legally able to earn revenue from their name, image and likeness.  NCAA rules have also loosened to allow professional representation for those deals.
             “Everything in high school and college football has always been equal for everyone. It’s not going to be that way anymore,” Saban said recently, according to 247 Sports.  “Aaron Rodgers makes $24 million a year and probably several million more in endorsements because he’s the quarterback.
             “The right guard probably makes a million a year and he doesn’t get anything from endorsements.  The same thing is going to happen to our team.”
             Young has one of the largest followings on social media among Alabama players, and has signed deals with companies such as Cash App.
             The revenue from those deals falls in line what would have been expected from one of Alabama’s recent starting quarterbacks. Had Tua Tagovailoa been able to monetize his name, image and likeness while at Alabama, one expert told in 2020 that he could have earned “three to five million, easy” in revenue.”
             Another expert added Tagovailoa could have made in the “low millions” but more likely six figures early in his college career.
             A five-star recruit in 2020, Young backed up Mac Jones as a freshman but did not start a game. He was the first-team quarterback in practices this spring and expected to start this fall.
            Day thinks that while college football’s highest-profile players will have immense earning opportunities through name, image and likeness deals, there should be consideration to sharing money among other players.

            Day, speaking Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium, was asked about Alabama coach Nick Saban’s recent comment that Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young could command seven figures in NIL agreements.  Ohio State’s starting quarterback occupies a similar position in the sport, and the growing Columbus market provides “the perfect alignment,” Day said, for earning potential.
            With Ohio Sate’s national standing, certain Buckeyes should be well-positioned to capitalize on new rules that allow players to profit off their name, image and likeness.
             For example, Day noted that projections from last year centered on the earning potential of former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields “were big numbers.”
            But with NIL opportunities just beginning to materialize, Day looked into the future a bit on Friday to suggest he might prefer a system where all players — not just quarterbacks and other highly visible players — can capitalize on the new rules.
            “When you combine the brand of Ohio State, you combine the city of Columbus with our social media presence, it’s like the perfect alignment,” Day said.  “So the opportunity for our guys is going to be unlike anywhere else in the country.
            “However, how do we find ways to make sure we disseminate that throughout the team, because there’s a lot of guys out there who are also playing football.  There’s guys who are blocking for the quarterback, there’s guys who are covering the wide receivers.  And while it’s tricky and I don’t really have quite the answer, I know that there’s got to be some sort of formula down the road that we can consider.”
        I will have more on this in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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