IMPROVED Oregon Teams Due to UNINTENDED NIL Consequences?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

Trust me, the title is not “Bait-and-Switch,” and you will need to hear me out on this. First of all, we have not done a single “bait-and-switch” type title in nine years; in the early days of the site I did not know better and made that mistake. Now, all our titles tell Google what the article is about and hopefully provide reasons for readers to click. Then our writers have to back up the claim in the title within the article, and we have now for nine years and thousands of articles.

I really believe that with all the negative, unintended consequences likely to result from NIL legislation (athletes making money off their Name, Image and Likeness), there is one potential positive consequence that emerged in my pondering, and I wanted to see if this astute community sees it the same way. (Make no mistake; I know I ponder this stuff way-too-much and have for a couple of decades, so I am not stopping now!)

We have heard of football and basketball players complaining about the extreme difficulties of school, training and then having to work on the side to pay the additional bills that a scholarship does not cover. Would the NIL funding that might come to them be enough to pay those extra expenses (like more food!) and keep them on campus an extra year? Sometimes it is hundreds they need, not millions, in order to maintain focus on training and studies.

Kenny Wooten could have used another year of seasoning…

We all know of many players who left Oregon for the NFL or NBA too soon, and, with an additional year, players who could have met a big payday due to improved skills acquired in that extra year. That list is long in both football and mens’ basketball and has been a source of frustration for Duck fans. You are just getting to know a good but not great player, and then he’s gone. (Can you provide examples in the comments, as that would be interesting in itself?)

What about the opposite? How many great teams has Oregon fielded where a key player returned who did not have to? The results were a better payday to the player a year later and a better team on the field or court. What if NIL produced a ton of those players? How much different would it be for the basketball team to have those good but not great players return?  Would it slow down the transfer parade? How would that change recruiting for Dana Altman?

Freshman Micah Williams could be tempted to a pro contract soon with only a partial scholarship…

The possibility of even modest NIL revenue could actually have a bigger impact in the non-revenue sports! Baseball and Track & Field only give partial scholarships, and the emerging stars turn pro as soon as they can. Who can blame them? But now if a good but not great pitcher sticks around an extra year, develops his skills (like Robert Ahlstrom did) through a little NIL funding to make it happen, Coach Waz ends up with a better team of Our Beloved Ducks.

The end result could be more for the players in terms of additional skills in the extra year, a better team for the coaches and much more enjoyable entertainment for Oregon fans of all sports. Plausible?

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Tom Corno

Phil Anderson, the Volunteer editor for this article, is a trial lawyer in Bend Oregon.


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