Do I believe that collegiate athletes have the right to make money off their own name, image and likeness? Absolutely.
Do I believe that collegiate athletes should have the right to switch from one school to another the way other students and coaches have been able to do through the years? Absolutely.
Do I believe that all that money and all these transfers are going to ruin college football as we’ve known it? Abso-freakin-lutely.
Oh well. It is what it is. Gone are the days where players gave a school their all for the love of the game, for the chance to earn a college degree that could help them for decades to come, or for that shady booster who let them test drive a Mercedes for nine months from the dealership run by his daddy and started by his daddy’s daddy.
The NIL genie is out of the bottle, and it ain’t going back.
Big money ruins almost everything it touches, but it rarely gets out of anything it gets in. Take American politics, for example. Sure, small-town folks are unlikely to elect as mayor a ruthless rich dude who climbs on working folks’ shoulders on his way to amassing the kind of wealth that is taxed less than the working folks who pulled up his bootstraps for him, yet those are exactly the kinds of folks who fill our Congress, treat our Supreme Court justices to luxuries, and fund elections. Those genies ain’t going back in, either.
Sorry, workin’ folks!
It’s a shame that major college football will become the exclusive domain of rich schools like Texas A&M and Texas. (Hmm, wonder where that money comes from; a post for another day.) Georgia, Alabama and Michigan will continue to compete, but I wouldn’t waste too much time rooting for Iowa State if I were you … unless Elon Musk becomes a huge Cyclones fan. (Although, he could destroy their program the way he is ingeniously losing money and destroying Twitter.)
But I don’t care about Twitter, and I realize there’s nothing my middle-class butt can do about American politics beyond whining about it — though I certainly will keep giving that the ol’ college try because it’s showing so much promise. However, I love college football. I once loved it even more than pro football. Unfortunately, college football is becoming a professional development league for the NFL.
I don’t blame the players one bit — not for making all the money they can, not for sitting out a bowl game to protect their future earnings, nor for switching schools for a perceived better opportunity to showcase their skills. However, I have seen many professional players in their early 20s ruin their lives when they couldn’t handle the riches thrown at them by pro sports leagues, and I do worry that many kids in their late teens will face similar problems as they can’t handle riches nor the leeches and “friends” who latch onto them,
If it were up to me, I’d fill Congress with independent-minded, working folks who don’t dodge taxes or demonize the non-rich. If it were up to me, I’d have nine Supreme Court justices who were neither left nor right and decided each case on its own merits. And if it were up to me, I’d have a sign-up sheet in the college student center for any kid who wanted to try out for the football team. (They wouldn’t need the scholarship because the education would be free thanks to the working class lawmakers who would focus on uplifting the 98 percent rather than subsidizing American greed as they do now.)
But, as the Rolling Stones sang, “You can’t always get what you want.” (Then again, I don’t know if the Stones can be trusted because they never came by with those Puerto Rican girls that Mick said were just dyin’ to meet me. They didn’t bring that case of wine, either.)
Am I still going to watch college football? Absolutely.
Am I still going to be a Georgia Bulldogs fan ’til I die? Abso-freakin-lutely.
Am I going to hold my breath as I hope for positive change in American politics, college sports or anything else big money has infected?